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A really powerful, emotionally-involving read
A really powerful, emotionally-involving read10/11/11| Steph BoweThis novel is told from the perspectives of three very different teenage girls - Madeline in the 1970s, Desiree in the 1990s, and Ariel in the 2000s. I found that each of their perspectives were brilliantly written, and each of their stories moving. I especially loved the sparse verse that is used in telling Desiree's story, and all of the music references used to ground the reader in the era of each of the girl's stories. Though it may seem as if chapters jumping between three different girls and three different decades would confuse the reader, I thought the tricky narrative was pulled off brilliantly.
I think in parts things were spelt out a little too much - at one point, there is a big reveal, and I wished it had have come out a little earlier in the novel, allowing the reader to make the mental leap on their own. However, the power of the novel is not affected by this fact, and I believe that - because of the multiple viewpoints from different decades - this is a novel that will have cross-generational appeal.
I will also say that I wished we could have learnt more about Ariel, and who she is, rather than her entire story centering around her boyfriend. I also found the technological references to centre her story in the modern day were slightly unnecessary. Overall, though, I found each of the girls to be really interesting, multi-layered characters, and I think though they made bad decisions, they were born into a lot of the bad circumstances they found themselves in, and they were each very likeable. I also loved the recurring references to the Blue Plate Special, and it's importance to Tad and Madeline.
I got this book in hardcover, and it really reminded how much I love hardcover books. This novel would certainly make a great gift. I think this novel will appeal especially to older teenage girls (maybe 15+), and perhaps mothers or older women as well (those who remember growing up in the 70s or 90s). A really powerful novel, that emotionally involves the reader and brilliantly pulls off multiple viewpoints.