After the bomb that was Who's Your Daddy?, all the reviews I'm writing seem to be super-peppy, cheerleader-esque ones. I guess this is karma. Just so you know - be prepared for some gushing.
Total: Five Stars.
A long time ago, when I started this blog, I told myself that when I found a book worthy of "All Five Stars," it would be my final review. Obviously, this isn't the case. I can't stop now - I'm addicted! I sat staring at an open Word document for a long while, trying to give reason to a "Four," or even "Four and a half," star review. Needless to say, I found none.
Lush is everything you could ask for a middle grade and something more. Even more so than all the lovely details of how a thirteen-year-old whose world is falling apart would think or act, there are many questions that go unanswered and loose strings are left while others are tied up.
The heroine of Friend's second novel is Samantha, "Just Sam." She's an eighth grader with a troupe of loyal - if unpopular - friends: Vanessa, Angie, and Tracey. I liked how all the characters had little quirks that made them memorable and turned them into distinct characters of their own right - regardless of their relationship with Sam.
Sam's father is an alcoholic. He has been for some time. Much of the book is spent ignoring problems (like any real family would do) and trying to behave normally. Sam's mother is also addicted - to Yoga. This is her way of dealing with problems, even if Sam hates the "sport."
To try and find her own way to deal with her familial problems, Sam writes a letter to a girl she doesn't know - someone she has only seen from afar. But is the mysterious letter writer really who she claims to be...?
Short answer: no. It's fairly obvious Sam isn't writing to who she thinks she is, but my guess was totally wrong. There are several shockers in the book - none of which I was expecting.
This actually made me tear up a little. The last book I cried while reading was Deathly Hallows - and not because it was sad! The tender moments between Sam and her mom, Sam and her brother, Luke, and even Sam and her dad are enough to melt the ice surrounding my heart!
I can't wait to get Friend's other novels, Perfect and Bounce.