October 18, 2012

Latest Read: Alive and Well in Prague, New York

Here are the basics ...
Book: Alive and Well in Prague, New York
Author: Daphne Grab
Site: http://www.daphnebg.com/
Category: Young Adult

Summary:  When Matisse Osgood's dad gets sick and her parents decide to leave Manhattan for a small town in upstate New York, her perfect world crumbles. She trudges through life in Prague dreaming of her old life with a father who's well and a mother who doesn't pretend that everything is okay. When rumors surround her at school and her father's symptoms worsen, Matisse realizes that the friends she's making in Prague are the kind you can count on. They help her find the strength to reach out to her father and realize that country living is a lot more magical than she ever imagined. (Adapted goodreads.com
My thoughts…
The good: Born and bred New Yorker, Matisse (named after the artist) is forced to move to Prague, NY and unsurprisingly, she's having a hard time adjusting. She experiences all the things you'd expect.  She finds friends, fights with the most popular girl in school, becomes the target of vicious rumors, enjoys little quirks about her town.  But there's another layer to Matisse's story.  The truth is, her father's health has been deteriorating and that's why her family moved to Prague.  But more importantly, she doesn't want anyone to know. If she could un-know it, she probably would. She's completely in denial and cutting herself off from everyone, even her parents. Then she slowly starts to open up.  She befriends Violet (a fellow town-hater) and Hal (the farmer boy next door who isn't the hick Matisse assumes him to be).  They both respect her privacy and accept her for who she is.  Inevitably, the lies Matisse tells herself and others start to unravel and we finally get to see who she really is.  Someone who stands up for herself, is loyal to her friends and loves her family very, very much (I loved her relationship with her parents).

(Major) reservations: For such a short book, it moved incredibly slow. I liked Matisse as a main character, once we got to know her. But a lot of the book is spent watching her push everyone away and keep her father a secret. To the point where she's unnecessarily rude to people or hating on the town as a way to cover her emotions.  I would've liked to see her character develop a lot sooner, instead of waiting until the book was nearly done.  There were so many interesting relationships introduced. With Violet, Hal and her parents.  But so little time was spent on it.  Again there were all these interesting aspects but not enough time spent elaborating on them. I felt like the book stayed at this superficial level and I kept wanting the author to delve deeper.

Do I recommend?: I can't say that I do. I've read books with similar premises before and I didn't think this story handled the characters and relationships nearly as well.  A lot of potential but for me, it fell short.

Happy reading!

3 comments:

  1. I heart that review...:) Sounds like this book didn't work as well as you hoped, but it does have a great cover! Im so glad I found your blog today, it is so fun and unique.

    <3 Tina.

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    1. Aw thank you so much! And it's funny that you mention the cover because that's exactly why I decided to read it! I kept thinking that it was such a great cover and I hoped I'd feel the same way about the story. Oh well. It did have moments I enjoyed but I just didn't fall in love with it.

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