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Monday, August 30, 2010

YA Review: Virginia

Virginia by Susan Hughes

Published: March 1st, 2010 by Kids Can Press
Genre: Um... I think we'll call it a mystery. Maybe a thriller. Oh, and YA, of course.
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 287 in my paperback copy.
Part of a series? No, it's a standalone.
Amazon link.

Summary (from the back of the book because goodreads doesn't have one): Virginia Donato has always had an indefinable quality that sets her apart from anyone else Ivy Morell has ever known. But when this childhood friend and neighbor confides in her, confessing that she has been visited by an angel and asked to do something "momentous," Ivy begins to think Virginia has lost her mind. As Iv struggles to make sense of her friend's bizarre claim, she notices other strange happenings in the Donato household.

Determined to find out more, Ivy discovers that Virginia's older brother Paul may have a shocking secret of his own, one that could have dangerous consequences. Can it be connected to Virginia? Should Ivy tell? And is there anyone she can turn to before it's too late?

Review: I've been avoiding writing this review for a couple days now because I didn't know exactly how to explain it, but I think I've got it. It has a kind of Nancy Drew meets Armageddon Summer (by Bruce Coville and Jane Yolen - if you haven't read it, you're totally not my BFF anymore) vibe with a good coating of Canadian...ness? I'm not sure where I was going with that, but you know what I mean. Right?

Plot (in my words): Oh, heck, no. I'm not even going to attempt to write about plot today. It's way too early for that and I've been up since before 4am.

Characters: Ivy is fourteen and going into grade nine. (And that's how the book says it! Not... freshman? Or whatever it is.) Her family is slowly but surely falling apart because of her mother's drinking and running is the only thing that keeps her feeling in control. She seems older and I wished at times that she was older so that I didn't feel slightly icky wanting her to be with a character in the book who was a couple years older than her. And fourteen just seems so young. (Haven't I said that before?)

All the characters are very interesting, though Virginia drove me nuts at times. I think that's how it's supposed to be, though. And can I just say, there is a certain boy in here who I really liked. *coughJoecough*

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: The voice at the beginning is kind of hard to get into. I was just shifting from another book, but it took me a couple pages to adjust and it seemed sort of rambly at the beginning. And sometimes there would be these giant blocks of text that probably could have been trimmed down.

PG-13 stuff: There isn't a lot of cursing or anything, but it is a kind of darker subject.

Cover comments: I quite like the cover. Purple is one of my favourite colours and I think the simplicity of the cover works really well.

Conclusion: While I had a couple of issues with this one, I did like it and it distracted me very well when I wasn't feeling good. Strong characters, a good though sometimes slightly confusing plot, good writing, and a heck of an ending. Plus, Canadian author!! Which is always awesome. Three and a half out of four roses.

Other notes:

- Susan Hughes also wrote Earth to Audrey which I LOVE. It's totally adorable and quirky and I recommend it highly for everyone, even though it's a picture book.
- When I was reading this outside, I lost my pen in my hair like three times.
- "Ooh, heating pad got a bit too hot."

And that's all!
Peace and cookies,

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