Ahh, a book about Upstate New York. My birth place and the one part of this country I consider to be home. Alive and Well in Prague, New York is written by Daphne Grab and its main character does not necessarily love what I love about Upstate, at least at first.
Matisse is purely a New York City girl and would never deny it. She shops at city stores and eats at the best restaurants, loving her culturally expansive life. When her father gets sick and her parents decide to move to a tiny town upstate, Matisse is devastated and believes her life is pretty much over. She isn't into hayrides, rinky-dink stores, or small town life at all. Though at first, Matisse draws into herself and refuses to make friends with anyone from Prague, she slowly begins to form connections with people and starts to realize these aren't flaky city-friends, these are real friends that she can count on. She soon starts to branch out emotionally to these new friends and is able to begin to deal with her family issues.
Grab's story is written in an extremely realistic style. Matisse is a believable character, as are her parents and friends and the overall reactions to Matisse's father's illness. The reader is able to connect with the story and the characters, leaving a very satisfied feeling once the last page has been turned. I really enjoyed this title and can see my teens at the library loving it as well.