Saturday, March 2, 2013

Book Review #7 Squalor, New Mexico

Squalor, New Mexico

Written By Lisette Brodey
Published March 18th 2009
Published By Saberlee Books

Darla McKendrick is nine when she first hears her mother and her aunt Didi secretly discussing their younger sister, Rebecca, speculating about her life in squalor. From the moment Darla asks to know more about her mysterious aunt, she is offered nothing but half-truths, distortions, and evasions.
As Darla grows into her teen years, her life is oddly yet profoundly affected by this woman she has never known. She can't help but notice that Rebecca seems to exist only in dark corners of conversations and that no one ever wants to talk about her - with Darla.
Squalor, New Mexico is a coming-of-age story shrouded in family mystery. As the plot takes twists and turns, secrets are revealed not only to Darla but to the "secret keepers" as well. Darla learns that families are only as strong as the truths they hold and as weak as the secrets they keep
(synopsis from goodreads)

I came across this book on Amazon and thought based on the title that it would be about New Mexico. It isn't. 
This is a coming of age story and it's the 3rd one i have read this month it's also my favorite of the three. The story is told from the point of view of Darla starts when she is nine and ends when she is 17. She lives with her mother and father and is really close to her 3 cousins named April,May and June. One day Darla walks in on her mother and aunt discussing their little sister Rebecca and this peaks an interest that Darla can't let go of. Rebcca seems to have some strange hold over the entire family including Darla's aunt and uncle the mother and father of her three cousins. With the help of Darla's 3 cousins and best friend Melanie the secrets surrounding Rebecca gradually come to light and ultimately all the secrets are revealed towards the end of the book.
I can't really say more than that (and there is so much more) as it would ruin all the awesome dark family secret stuff.
This book was excellent it made me angry, sad, frustrated and happy I even laughed out loud in several places and cried at the end. Darla is a pretty typical teenager melodramatic and bratty at times but overall she tries to be a good person most of the time. Her three cousins seem on the surface to be almost too good to be true especially for teenage girls but, there is so much more to them. The parts of the book that made me frustrated actually had to do with both sets of parents. Darla's mother and father were kind of pathetic. Her father is a giant stick in the mud and not in the way that every teenager thinks their father is a stick in the mud but for real!! Her mother seems to have no backbone and is more concerned with appearances than real life. Darla's aunt is a stage mom to April, May, and June and is only concerned  with the next show the girls will be performing in. The girls father is basically non existent in their life and lets his wife push him around. Seriously every book I have read recently has terrible parents in it! 
The central plot revolves around Rebecca the secret aunt even though she lives somewhere else and none of the girls have ever met her. Darla spends her time thinking about this secret aunt and it sort of takes over her life and the lives of her entire family without anyone even being conscious of it. Darla enlists the help of her cousins and her best friend Melanie to uncover the secrets of Rebecca and this takes her entire family on this crazy emotional journey with results no one could have seen coming.
There is so much more to the book than that but to give any more detail would ruin things for you. At times I thought I had the secret of Rebecca figured out but I didn't although I was in the ballpark. The end of this book was so good and emotional I just loved it. This is a book I will probably re-read at some point and I think I might love it even more when I do. 
Bottom line read this book because it is amazing.
I gave it 5 out of 5 stars on goodreads.

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