Thursday, March 17, 2011
Bookinistas: Like Mandarin
I knew the moment I read the description of LIKE MANDARIN and saw the beautiful cover that I'd love it. It's just my kind of book. And I'm almost positive it's your kind of book as well. Read on...
Here's what the back cover has to say:
It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin.
When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their badlands town.
Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.
This book is like nothing I've ever read before. It's a coming-of-age, friendship, mother-daughter relationship story all rolled into one beautifully poetic package. From the very first page, Kirsten's words will lift you right up from your seat and transport you over to Wyoming, which she describes with an incredible attention to detail. As barren as I always thought this landscape must be, Kirsten manages to paint the setting in an exotic way, motivating me to do a search on images. She is an expert at setting, so if you're struggling, get ready to be inspired.
And then there is Grace. She's awkward and skinny and ignored and smart and desperate and lonely. And all of the sudden she gets swept up in a relationship with a girl she has always admired from afar. A girl who seems to be everything she is not. Mandarin has a reputation that precedes her and an attitude to go along with it. She wants nothing more than to escape both their town and her life. She wants out in a big way. The girls have this in common. And Grace falls for Mandarin hard. And then has to figure out how to get back up again.
Kirsten's writing is simply gorgeous. She writes passages you will dog-ear and highlight and read again and again. I will read absolutely everything she puts out and am looking forward to seeing how many awards LIKE MANDARIN snaps up. It's just that kind of book.
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