Friday, June 3, 2011

Good Graces

by Lesley Kagen

Lesley Kagen continues the story of Sally O’Malley and her sister Troo, from her bestselling novel Whistling in the Dark. However, to simply call this a sequel, while the transition is seamless, does not do this book justice. Good Graces has its own story to tell.

It is one year later in 1960 Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A year in the life of the O’Malley sisters has seen many changes. While home life is more secure, both girls are still grieving the sudden loss of their father a year ago. Ever the good girl, Sally is determined to keep her deathbed promise to take care of Troo. Troo is not making it easy, becoming increasingly rebellious. Troo constantly pushes the limits and crosses lines. Her need for attention and love of drama drives her.

Summer has brought a heat wave, making everyone restless. As the summer heats up, so does the danger. The disappearance of a local boy and the escape of Troo’s nemesis from reform school are problem enough for Sally. Making matters worse, a series of home burglaries in the neighbourhood seem to possibly be connected to Troo. Exhausted and overwhelmed, Sally is unsure of her own judgment regarding both people and situations. Eventually things come to a boiling point and Sally is forced to find the courage to make decisions that surprise even her.

Lesley Kagen is an extraordinary author. She captures the essence of adolescence, with its conflict of innocence and awareness. She has a gift of giving authentic voice to her child characters. Her books are humorous yet sensitive and sweet, leaving you wanting more.

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