This YA Historical verse fiction was a surprise hit for me. It is beautifully lyrical and deserves an orchestral symphony–on page.
I first listened to this book as an arc from Netgalley.
If you liked Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, I think you’ll enjoy this one. I would go a step further and say it is written with a more mature tone than Acevedo. The author does a good job of writing the struggle without relishing in it. It is not struggle lit or a depressing story.
From the very first sentence, you feel like the only person this story is being told to. The full cast of narrators are engaging, absolutely superb.
This compelling story is about a multigenerational family dealing with life, poverty, war, etc. I have not read many books, in recent times, that cover a declining auto industry in Detroit and the Depression era that forced many middle class families into poverty. There also is a love story in the mix that doesn’t feel out of place.
In a subtle yet direct way, Colby Cedar Smith brings up social issues like gender politics and class differences, and societal judgments without making– the reader–feel uncomfortable or like she is preaching to you.
This story is so many stories in one. It’s like if you lived in a multigenerational household, you would get stories from your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and then your parents too. And every one has interesting tales. It’s not like you’re waiting for the one who knows how to tell a good story. They all weave and blend together seamlessly. You are sitting up, at the edge of your seat, anticipating the next story.
You can tell from the writing that this author, though it is her debut novel, is experienced. Colby Cedar Smith graduated from Colorado College and Harvard University. She teaches creative writing at the Arts Council of Princeton. She also is a poet which shows in her prose.
Also, if you are a cover lover, the hardcover is a naked cover and she is beautiful. It also has a ribbon bookmark on the inside. I don’t see why anyone would be picking up the paperback.
To find out more about the author, check out her website: http://www.colbycedarsmith.com