Monday, January 26, 2009

Alive and Well in Prauge, New York

Matisse Osgood is not particularly thrilled about moving from downtown New York City to Prauge, New York. In fact, she's pretty bitter about it. Matisse's father, a well-known sculptor has Parkinson's Disease and its progressing much more rapidly than they thought it would. Matisse does not want anyone at her new school to know about her dad's illness and that, combined with a pretty snotty attitude towards everyone at her new school except Violet (who seems to be a sort of loner) keeps Matisse on the outside of her new school and home. She even consistently shoots down Hal, an aspiring organic farmer/Buddhist who is just trying to be her friend. Matisse's family is falling apart and she shuts out everyone who tries to help her. She must figure out a way to adapt to her new home and family situation or risk permanently alienating everyone who tries to care about her.

Matisse is not an atypical teenager...but she is so prickly it was hard for me to like her. Obviously she was dealing with her dad's Parkinson's disease as well as having to make a move she was seriously opposed to, but she was so rude to her family and people at school who were trying to be her friends that she was not in anyway a sympathetic protagonist. There is some fun romance towards the end of the story and it was well told, but it's hard for me to love a book in which the main character is so bratty. Not that she didn't have some redeeming qualities, they were just hard to see.

However, this would be a great book for teens dealing with the illness of a parent - I think the author Daphne Grab, really captured what I can imagine would be the emotions of someone watching their parent deteriorate in such a sad and horrible way.

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