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Saturday, December 26, 2020

MG Novel-in-Verse Realistic and Relatable

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Hannah Lincoln's life has always been safe and stable.  The 12-year-old has two caring parents, plenty of friends, and a love of gymnastics and dancing that sustains her.  Her cousin, Cal Pace, has had the opposite experience.  His mother died three years ago leaving him with his drug-addicted father.  His chaotic home life ended with his dad going to prison and Cal coming to live with the Lincolns.  Hannah's childhood has given her confidence and balance.  Cal's has left him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  

Hannah gets that her cousin's been through a lot, but she can't help feeling resentful of his sudden presence in her life.  Cal acts strangely and has serious anger management issues.  Not only is he bullied at school, but his behavior is causing contention in Hannah's home.  She's trying to be patient and understanding, but Hannah feels like her nice, quiet life is spinning out of control.  Will her family ever go back to normal?  Or will Cal's antics tear them apart for good?

Told in verse, Ellen Hopkins' first novel for middle-grade readers tells a poignant story about two cousins with very different life experiences trying to find common ground.  Closer to Nowhere is a quick read that's realistic and relatable.  Based on the author's own experience, the story paints a vivid, sympathetic picture of how addiction impacts not just the addict but his/her whole family.  While Closer to Nowhere deals with tough subjects, overall it's a hopeful book.  I've enjoyed other books by Hopkins and this one is no exception.  It's a heart-wrenching, empathy-inducing novel that spoke to me.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a little of Christmas After All by Kathryn Lasky)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and difficult subject matter (drug abuse, alcoholism, divorce, school shootings, etc.)

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Closer to Nowhere from the generous folks at Penguin Random House via those at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know Hopkins had written an MG novel; that's great! She is so good at capturing tension and real feelings through verse.


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