Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Book Review: We Are the Goldens

Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.
While I'm wouldn't classify this as literary fiction, I think it is wildly successful at what it sent out to be - a suspenseful family drama dealing with a hard subject.  While I found Nell's sister's relationship with the teacher a bit incredulous, I was blown away by Nell's family dynamics.  I loved how the author showed us how very much Nell looks up to Layla and the reasons why.  I also found Nell's inability to tell anyone about Layla's relationship to be completely believable, given the family dynamics we're shown.  She's the peacemaker and the one who doesn't make waves - and that characteristic is perfectly captured.

Entertainment Value
This one was in the zone of things I want from contemporary YA: an "issue", sisters, serious tone, lots of drama.  I loved it and read it in one sitting.  I was totally unbothered by some of the more ridiculous aspects of the book because I found the characters so compelling (see above).

I think it's a great choice for fans of contemporary YA issue books and also for those who are interested in family dynamics, particularly in families where children are affected by divorce.  The author does an amazing job of incorporating those elements into the story.

1 comment:

  1. The title and cover captures you and plus you are The Goldens, cute.

    I am not into YA but this one continues to intrigue me.