Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Something New This Way Comes

Okay, something different this time. Once a month, I'm choosing one debut author's book to read and review. I'm serious about it, so don't expect to see celeb trash like Snooki's book. Sorry, dedicated authors only will be considered.

The Trouble With Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante (Putnam) debuted in January. Although listed as a YA (young adult for those unfamiliar with the biz of writing), this gently told story feels suitable for a younger set, 10-14. Told from the point of view of almost thirteen-year-old Dellie, it takes the reader through several months of her life. Dellie lives in a housing project surrounded by people who face issues of poverty, violence and despair. Dellie has her own troubles; she blames herself for her little brother's death. While she and her family grieve, new tenants move in; an abusive mother and her young son Corey, and a spirited older woman called Miss Shirley. Dellie tries to protect Corey, avoid Miss Shirley's questions about her brother's death, repair the betrayal by her best friend Kayla, and foster the blooming romantic interest of Michael. The obstacle in her path is her mother's adamant insistence she remain 'safe' by only leaving the apartment for school, even though Dellie's life is outside her home; friends, school, Michael, and freedom.

Simply written by Vigilante who grew up in projects just like Dellie's, this novel is a safe avenue to explore the dark shadows in life; death, betrayal, despair, violence and injustice-and the enduring human spirit that fights to be happy. And though the main character is a young girl, and a small romantic interest is present, this novel is well suited for both genders because of the many issues that can be opened for discussion. I would highly recommend it for the classroom.

Next review:  Exposed  by Kimberly Marcus

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