Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mare's War (YA)


Mare's War. Tanita S. Davis. Random House. 352 pages.

It's just a sporty red car parked across our driveway, but when I see it, my stomach plummets. It's my grandmother.

Mare is no ordinary grandma, that's for sure! As her two granddaughters discover one summer when all three embark on a cross country road trip. There are rules to be decided; and compromises to be made. But in the end, it will be a summer the two sisters (Octavia and Tali) will never forget. (It will also be a healing summer for Mare.)

What makes this inter-generational book such a great read is that the narration is broken into 'then' and 'now' segments. As the two girls learn about their grandmother's not-so-tame past, readers learn first hand what America was like in the past. Things that they take for granted--have always taken for granted--were not so easy back in the day. There are a few scenes, for example, that really stand out in showing how far we've come. (The scene on the bus moved me. It was so emotional, but not overly done.)

But this isn't an issue book. Not really. The characters are too human for that for one thing. The two granddaughters have never given much thought to Mare's life, her history, her past, her story. They haven't thought about her as a person, a real person with hopes, dreams, disappointments, regrets, etc. Mare's broken home is haunting. As are her stories of joining the Women's Army Corps during World War II. And as these two teens learn to listen, really, truly listen, something significant, something personal happens. In some ways, this is a quiet book about families coming together--listening, loving, understanding, bonding. But it isn't a slow novel. Mare's story is compelling. I think the framework works well, helps keep history in context.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

4 comments:

Chris 11:39 PM  

Wasn't it awesome??? I just absolutely loved this one!!! Thought it was fantastic :D I think it'll be making my best of list of the year. How've you been Becky? I'm sorry I've been such a stranger lately. Things have been rough :( I've really missed you though!

Melissa 5:15 PM  

I really need to pull this off the TBR list and actually read it. Sounds wonderful.

Becky 7:53 PM  

Chris, I loved your review of this one! I've missed you too :)

Melissa, I think you'd like it.

Anna 11:21 PM  

I've heard lots of good things about this book. I hope to read it at some point.

I've linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
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  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
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I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
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  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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