Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: Dangerous Neighbors

Dangerous Neighbors
Beth Kephart
2010; Egmont; ISBN 978-1-60684-080-1 (hardcover)

Historical Period/Events: 19th-Century Philadelphia; American Centennial Exhibition

Summary:  All her life, Katherine has taken care of her twin sisters, Anna.  But when Anna dies by falling through the ice on the Schuykill River, Katherine feels like she has failed--and she doesn't want to go on living.  For months, she's in a daze, even as Philadelphia prepares for and presents the Centennial Fair of 1876.  Katherine wants to join Anna in death, yet something keeps holding her back.  How can Katherine go on without her sister? 

1876 Philadelphia comes alive in this dreamy, introspective novel.  The bustle of a city playing host to thousands of tourists is contrasted wtih Katehrine's narrow focus on her grief.  As she starts to go beyond her own heartbreak, Katherine's eyes take in the beauty of existence, letting her suicididal impulses drift away.  This character-driven novel transports the reader not just to nineteenth-century Philadelphia, but into the head of a grieving young woman as she gains the strength to stand alone.  Dangerous Neighbors will appeal to readers of novels like Laurie Halse Anderson's Chains.

No comments: