Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Claire Dean has written a young adult novel that certainly left me intrigued throughout, but also a bit puzzled. Though I enjoyed the writing and the storyline, I was a bit confused as to what the actual focus of the plot was meant to be...a confusion that never really cleared up.

Polly, our young teen main character, has always been considered slightly strange, geeky even, by her classmates, as well as her older sister Bree. Polly can see colors around people and because of this strange trait, she finds she is only comfortable when with her grandmother, foraging for plants in the woods. When Bree becomes involved in drugs and depression, she makes the decision to leave her home, telling only Polly that she is leaving, and ultimately catapulting Polly into a limelight she had no interest in being in.

Polly believes that Bree has run away to a specific place in the woods and begins leaving clothing and food for her. When a local developer purchases the woods in order to build homes, Polly knows she has to fight to save Bree's new home.

My confusion with this well-written novel was in what exactly the main focus of the story was meant to be. Was it Polly's ability to see colors around people? Was it an environmental plight? Or was it fantasy? There was an awful lot of talk of fairies and magical places, which I didn't really feel was necessary to the story, it just made it a bit odd. Though the book was entertaining and the emotions believable, I think it would have been more successful (for me at least) with a bit more simplicity.


Becky said...

I've had a bit of a struggle getting into this one. I've read the first chapter a few times and really can't get much further. Anyway, thanks for the review. :)

Lauren said...

I totally disagree! Girlwood was one of my favorite books of all time. I recommend it to all my friends! I loved Polly, her grandmother, the herbs and plants and magic. It's great to find a book that's positive and hopeful for girls. Thanks!