Today is Christmas Eve.
Today is my birthday.
Today I am fifteen.
Today I buried my parents in the backyard.
Neither of them were beloved.
That’s how this book starts. Pretty impressive, eh? I admit it had me turn the pages rather quickly as the book progressed. From beginning to end, Lisa O’Donnell keeps Marnie and Nelly, the two (young) main characters on a wild ride. In one book the girls bury their parents, deal with puberty, dating, sex, drugs, meeting their grandfather, befriending the man next door, and an ending that I didn’t see coming.
I have a love/hate relationship with this book. Love in that Marnie and Nelly do their best to overcome the crappy life situation that has been put in front of them. Love that Marnie, even though she complains, doesn’t want to be without her sister and does all that she can to protect them. Love that even though the girls say they don’t want a parental figure they seek out someone who can help them through their rough patch – and enjoy themselves a bit. Love that the end of the book is somewhat of a happy ending for the two girls.
The things I didn’t like as it relates to the book: Marnie’s excessive cursing (I swear, if I have a kid like that..!), the fact that girls lived in such a desolate area and were subject to so much heartache. Some parts of the book are just heartbreaking. This is definitely one of those books that if a young adult were to read it, depending on their age and maturity, I’d think an adult would need to discuss it with them which could create bonding opportunities.
For anyone who enjoys a book that is part YA (at least to me it reads like a book that high schoolers would read), part women’s literature, a bit of mystery and a different look at life, I’d recommend this book!
Do you think that the lines between YA and “adult” literature are clearly defined?