Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dark Water by Laura McNeal

This is the second of Kathleen's reviews of the 2010 National Book Award finalists in Young People's Literature.

Fifteen-year-old Pearl is the child of recently divorced parents, pretty much abandoned by her father. She and her mother are economically destitute, living in a cottage on her uncle's avocado ranch in southern California while her mom earns money as a substitute teacher.

Pearl falls in luuuuuuv with an undocumented immigrant ranch worker and starts making all the wrong choices, one of which leads to someone's death.

The book is well-written, and there are some gems, like this:

I've always been suspicious of those who say, Things happen for a reason and What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. things happen all the time for no reason at all, and what doesn't kill you scares you witless.

But Pearl drove me nuts a lot of the time. She's selfish and petulant. Like a teenager, which she is. But her realisticness was annoying rather than endearing. Maybe a teenager reading this would see it differently?

I can see that Dark Water is well done. I just didn't enjoy it enough to say "Yes, this is one of the best books of the year."

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