Once I picked up this book, I could not put it down. Maybe it was because it was filled with reptiles and in my house, reptiles are animals to love (and spend lots of money on). Maybe it was because the lead character grabbed my heart from the first page and didn't let go, even once I shut the book on the last word. Or maybe it's because this author has an exceptional talent, one for writing a book that allows the reader to enter the world she has created, and never want to leave.
Lizard Love, written by Wendy Townsend, is time in the life of Grace. The young girl lives in Mooresville, a back country town that she has lived in all of her life and absolutely loves. She is friends with the wilderness and cherishes the time she gets to spend with her beloved grandparents. When her mother gets a job in New York City and Grace is forced to move to a cement jungle, she is lost. Her heart was left behind and she feels completely hopeless, until she accidentally happens upon a pet store specializing in exotics, mainly reptiles. At Fang & Claw, amidst the snakes, monitors, and lizards, Grace finds herself again. She falls in love with her new environment and just maybe in Walter, the son of the pet store owner.
This was a fairy tale of a book. I loved reading about all of the reptiles that Grace encountered, especially since my own hubby works part-time in an exotic pet store where I have also had the experience of meeting the awesome reptiles she describes. Don't knock them unless you know them! Reptiles are not typical "book" animals and I loved that they made huge appearances in Lizard Love.
Grace's relationship with Walter, as well as with Spot, a huge iguana are touching and real. The writing is beautifully done and I certainly hope we hear from from Wendy Townsend.
Though the publisher classifies the book in the age range of 14 and up, I really believe this is perfectly appropriate for the older juveniles out there as well. I would almost say 10 and up would be fine. There is some talk of turning into a woman and growing breasts, but no other matter that would make this novel in-appropriate for that age level.
Again, I loved the book and I demand that all of you out there go read it. Especially if you are not a reptile lover...I guarantee your mind will change after reading this. :-)