By Meagan Brothers
Expected publication April 24, 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.
Maria is finally getting what she has long wanted - the chance to live with her mother, who ran out on her and her father a long time ago. So Maria is escaping her life in small-town South Carolina and heading for New York City. But her dream may not work out to be exactly what she hoped for...
I remember reading and enjoying Brothers' previous novel, Debbie Harry Sings in French, so when I spotted this new one at Midwinter, I happily snapped up a copy. I'm not really sure what to say about it now that I've finished. This is an interesting book - there is something about it that keeps you reading. Maybe it's Maria and one's desire to know more about what brought her here. Maybe it's her mother and the incredible sadness one feels reading about this person and knowing she's going to disappoint you. The thing is, this is a book that deals with some heavy stuff - but, in my opinion, never actually deals with what. A lot of questions are left unanswered by the time you turn the final page and it feels a bit mystifying to realize this. I know I've expressed mixed emotions about books leaving me with questions - sometimes I hate it and sometimes it makes me love the book more. And I certainly don't want to suggest that all young adult novels should wrap everything up in a nice little bow. But to me, it seems a bit strange to leave so many questions at the end of a novel such as this. Readers never find out what exactly prompted Maria's move to New York, never learn more about her father and mother, never discover if Victoria could change her ways. Additionally, it seems as if there is a lot of less-than-okay behavior in this novel, exhibited by various characters of all ages, but no one is really discussing it. I understand that this is a reality for many teens, but something about it felt off. This is a book that focuses heavily on music without really discussing it or explaining why - and I think it suffers for that. A number of things felt unfinished. However, this was a book that I wanted to keep reading and whose pages flew by. I'm on the fence about it overall.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.