Thursday, September 22, 2011

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard

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Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, March 8, 2011
Read for YA Contemps and 2011 Debut Author Challenges

Summary from Goodreads:
It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.
Here's another book that's been on my to-read pile forever. I finally got around to it, and I did enjoy it. It's a strong debut novel, and I look forward to more from Kirsten. I love stories about small towns and the teens desperate to escape them. I also love reading about the nonsense that is beauty pagentry. There was just something a this novel, and I think it was our narrator, Grace. She was just so...YOUNG. I totally get that was the point, to show how naive she was when compared to Mandarin. I mean, she's 14 but the school decided she was too smart to be a freshman, so they bumped her to a sophomore. It just struck  me as improbably that a girl as meek and innocent as Grace would ever have the motivation to ever leave her tiny little town.

Mandarin was a fun character, though, and I enjoyed reading about her quirks. A girl like Mandarin, in a town like Washokey? Of COURSE people are going to talk about her! That's another thing I loved about this novel--Kirsten created a very realistic portrayal of the small-mindedness that is all too often present in small towns.

Own book.

Enjoy your reading!

1 comment:

  1. I've been wondering about this book and am glad you reviewed it. I'll have to pick it up. Thanks for sharing!


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