Friday, September 16, 2011
Dark Water by Laura McNeal 285 pages
This National Book Award Finalist (for young people's literature) is a bittersweet story of summer love, betrayal and misunderstandings. 15-year old Pearl and her mother are forced out of their comfortable existence when her father announces he no longer loves her mom and pulls all financial support away from them. They move to a cottage on her uncle's sprawling avocado plantation in California. Her cousin, Robby believes that his father is carrying on an affair with a college girl and plans revenge. Pearl meets and falls for an illegal migrant worker living in a makeshift hut on her uncle's land. Communication between them is difficult not just because of the language barrier but because his throat was injured and talk is painful. No one seems to tell the truth -- her mother lies about where she was finally able to get a temporary summer job. Pearl tells no one about Amiel. Robby misleads Mary Beth, the college girl friend. An October wildfire brings tragedy to all. Lyrically written.