Friday, February 15, 2013
ARC Review: The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door
Viking Children's, 2013
Scheduled to release February 21
Source: Received an ARC for review from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The first I heard of this book was when it showed up on my doorstop. Although I love contemporaries, I think seeing the big combat boots would probably have turned me off. As you know, I'm a girl who loves a pretty dress on the cover and thi sdidn't seem quite my thing.
Happily I was wrong yet again and I'm so glad I gave this book a try. The first thing I want to note is the setting: in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I grew up not too far from Hershey (I visited Hershey Park probably just about every summer) and loved getting to visit there again through this book although the setting is not the most important part.
No, the most important part is the relationships of Celia Door with everyone else in her life. Basically she has a messed-up relationship with her parents who are separated, seeming to be headed toward divorce as her father even moved away and she has zero relationships with people at school after the dark day where some mean girls went after her. But the situation starts to look brighter when cute New Yorker Drake moves in and befriends Celia. Can she get her revenge on the mean girl and maintain her friendship with the new boy?
Celia is an excellent narrator, dealing with the vagaries of teen life and its ups and downs. It was honestly a little exhausting being inside her head because of how much she felt and all the emotions raging within. I liked getting to know her better and felt her voice was very distinct. In eighth grade, she had been encouraged by a teacher to pursue writing and these words of encouragement are solace during the crappy times. As someone who can be a bit overprotective of fictional people, I was glad she had that hope. I also liked Drake the new boy especially because their relationship is not presented as soul mates who will be together forever; in fact, there is very little romance in the book, something I appreciate.
Probably the most important theme of this book is around bullies as there is no doubt in my mind that Celia was bullied even as she tries to cultivate a dark, non-caring persona. Her bullies manage to enlist almost every other student to pick on Celia and it broke my heart to see her deal with that day in and day out without receiving any help whatsoever. Good and bad responses to the bullying are also represented so I feel like some lessons could be learned without the prose veering into being didatic.
Overall: I'm very glad I decided to give this book a shot-with a vividly drawn MC and timely issues, this will is a fun contemporary read!