Wednesday, September 24, 2014

We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

I am not one of those people who LOVES YA fiction.  I like some of it, but often I find it a little too underwritten for my taste.  I would use the word shallow, but that word give the impression that I don't like it because it is all about how someone looks or who is her boyfriend this week and that's really not what I mean.  What I typically don't like is that the writing often doesn't delve deep enough into the plot and the characters don't feel real.  Typically.  Occasionally, I will read something that I really enjoy.  Not everything has to be great literature, but I like it to have a little tooth to it.

Today I finished We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt and I really enjoyed it.  Layla and Nell are sisters just seventeen months apart in age.  The book opens with Nell's first day as a freshman at the high school where her older sister is already a star.  They are very close and there is none of the catty, jealous younger sister mess that you might expect.  Layla is happy to have Nell around her.  It seems like the perfect relationship until things start to change.  Layla is skipping school and getting Nell to lie for her and it is all about a new person in her life.  Nell struggles to know what to do.

I really liked that this book was written in second person, not something that we often find.  It was written from Nell's perspective to her sister Layla.  This was a very quick read and it was difficult to put down.  Last night I had to force myself to turn out the light so I wouldn't be exhausted today.  I could have finished it, but I wanted to really enjoy the ending.  The writing was adorable with many phrase turns that made me laugh.  There are even a few sections where Nell and her best friend Felix speak in pseudo-Shakespearean.  It's quite funny.  I loved the interaction between those two.  I was disappointed to realize that it barely passes the Bechdel Test.  Nell and Layla talk briefly about soccer, school and their parents, but most of their interactions are about members of the opposite sex.  This wasn't exactly a great work of fiction, but it was fun to read while also addressing an important issue.  

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