I gave my favorites of 2009 earlier this month, listing Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney in one of the YA spots. Honestly, I've been really thinking about this review, because I can't say enough wonderful things about this gem of a book, without sounding somewhat ridiculous and overly sappy. Truth be told, I really AM ridiculously sappy and gushy about Blue Plate Special. So here I am...doing my best to express my love for this book:
"Doomed loves, failed families, nixed dreams someone else's leftovers are heaped on our plates the day we come into this world.
Big Macs and pop tunes mask the emptiness as Madeline watches her mom drink away their welfare checks. Until the day Tad, a quirky McDonald's counter boy, asks Madeline out for a date, and she gets her first taste of normal. But with a life that s anything but, how long can normal really last?
Hanging with Jeremy, avoiding Mam, sticking Do Not Disturb Post-its on her heart, Desiree's mission is simple: party hard, graduate (well, maybe), get out of town. But after Desiree accepts half a meatball grinder, a cold drink, and a ride from her mother's boyfriend one rainy afternoon, nothing is ever simple again.
Too many AP classes. Workaholic mom. Dad in prison. Still, Ariel's sultry new boyfriend, Shane, manages to make even the worst days delicious. But when an unexpected phone call forces a trip to visit a sick grandmother she's never met, revealing her family's dark past, Ariel struggles to find the courage to make the right choice for her own future.
As three girls from three different decades lives converge, they discover they are connected ways they could never imagine. Each of them finds strength that brings her closer to healing a painful past, and faith that there is a happier future."
Such a heartbreaking, yet hope-filled novel. Each character, Madeline, Ariel, and Desiree have their own strong voice and spoke to me in entirely different ways. I think truly connecting with character is really rare and I was able to connect with all three. Very impressive. And the unique layout of the story was fun to follow and piece together. These stories are going to stick with me for a long, long time and I can guarantee this will be my go-to book for gifts this year.
I had the pleasure of being a first round judge for the Cybil Awards this fall, on the YA panel, and that's where I happened to have this lovely book fall into my hands. As a panel we decided that it definitely deserved a place on the shortlist (of only 7 books out of 168). Go get it now! No, really...do it.
Blue Plate Special is Chronicle Books first venture into the realm of Young Adult, and I would say it's an absolute success. An amazing, multi-generational story, that I put all of my recommending power behind.
Blue Plate Special
Michelle D. Kwasney
Review copy received from publisher
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