Talent. B. Lynn Goodwin. 2020. [November] 226 pages. [Source: Review copy]
First sentence: THIS IS THE DAY that could change my life. I’ve been living in the shadow of my big brother, Brian Mason, all of my life, but in five more minutes, I’m going to audition for San Ramos High’s spring production of Oklahoma! I’m reading for Ado Annie, who sings and dances and flirts, but if I don’t get it, maybe I can play Gertie or Ellen or somebody else with lines.
Premise/plot: Sandee Mason stars in Talent a coming of age YA novel written by B. Lynn Goodwin. Sandee is in an in-between place when the novel opens. Her brother, Brian, is missing in action in Afghanistan. Her parents' attention is hit or miss. Especially her mother's. She misses him too. Every. Single. Day. Not a day goes by when she doesn't want him BACK. But is not knowing better than knowing if the knowing means the worst has happened? That's one of the questions explored in this one.
If you're not super drawn to books about missing soldiers, perhaps you'll be drawn to a secondary aspect of this YA novel: Sandee's interest and participation in HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA. Their school is doing a production of the musical OKLAHOMA. Will Sandee get a role? Or will she be part of the crew? Will the show go on when obstacles come up?
My thoughts: Talent is an interesting read. I can't say it's "enjoyable" because it's about some dark subjects. (Her missing brother, her friend's comatose sister (also a soldier), teen alcoholism, potentially unhealthy relationships). But I cared about Sandee and her problems. It is definitely a "problem novel."
My least favorite part was her visit with the psychic. But that was minor overall.
I believe this one was first published in 2015 by Eternal Press. I'm not sure how widely available it was. The page counts do differ, so perhaps this newly published version has been edited and isn't exactly the same?
© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews