By Virginia Euwer Wolff. Published by Faber & Faber. The second novel for young adults about LaVaughn. (The first is ‘Make Lemonade’ but you don’t need to read it first at all.)
I absolutely love this book, but it is so difficult to describe as I have honestly read nothing like it before.
To say what it’s about it tough. On the surface it’s about a girl living in a rough area in America with metal detectors in schools and shooting outside her flat. She fancies a boy in her building like mad; she’s scared she’s losing her best friends to an extreme religious group; she’s worried about her Mum’s new relationship; and she’s very busy improving herself to get a good job to move into a better area.
But underneath, in the most subtle of ways, it’s about a girl who thinks deeply about life and feels emotions deeply. It’s about life. It’s about a girl who is so caring and passionate it makes me feel guilty.
It is written so well. I felt completely with the main character all the time and I could see and smell everything around her all the time. It was so vivid without any long passages of description and just so dam well written. Read it and you’ll see what I mean. It even had the perfect ending.
However, I don’t know how patient teenagers might be with it. I was immediately put off by the poetry-style layout where sentences stop half way along the line. It took some getting used to. Also, there wasn’t exactly a lot of action. It isn’t that sort of book anyway, but as it wasn’t a page-turner, it wasn’t until I got to know the character about a quarter of the way in, when I was keen to carry on reading. But please, please keep going because it’s worth it. It is a beautiful book.