Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Blonde of the Joke

Valentina is the ultimate wallflower, afraid of disappearing completely.  But then she meets Francie and everything changes.  Francie is larger-than-life and Valentina falls completely under her spell when she becomes her partner in crime.

But the instant everything changes, you know.  It's just like - one second you are one thing, and then you're something else...A moment of clarity in which, briefly, the entire future of everything is laid out clearly before you and then is gone.  p.13
Let me just say that I've been there.  My best friend is college was a Francie.  No, not a chronic shoplifter, but someone so big that you think they can make everything better and they do.  I was (am) very shy, but when I meet my friend, everything changed.  I was much cooler just being with her than I had ever been.  But people like that always has dark secrets and they will evidently pull you into them.  I tell you this only because I want you to know that I related to Valentina in a very serious way.  Up to a point.  And then I couldn't understand her anymore.  I get the magnetic attraction, but I feel like I am missing something important about this story.

There's no doubt that Bennett Madison is an excellent writer.  Show, don't tell.  What I'm always looking for in a good novel and he has that ability to describe things exactly right; to give details without shoving them down the reader's throat.  Are Francie and Valentina sympathetic characters?  Well, that answer gets complicated.  Yes they are and then no they aren't.  They are very compelling though.  I think they expected too much from each other.  Other people can never really fix you.  You have to fix yourself.

The other thing I wanted to mention was the language.  There was a lot of flack about how the girls talk and the slang they used.  I don't want to criticize in either direction, but I'm sure they was a reason for it.  I'm going to link to an article about it which contains Madison's comments on the subject.  It is very thought-provoking (make sure to read the comments).  Also there was some drinking and smoking which normally doesn't bother me but then I kept reminding myself that they are only suppose to be 14.  They act so much older.

GLBT Challenge
Young Adult
Hogwarts: Transfiguration

(P.S. My friend and I are still friends and she's a police detective of all things.  Life is so crazy sometimes.)


  1. This sounds like an intense book. Those sorts of relationships are very intense as well.

  2. I'm always weirded out whenever I see very young characters doing things I don't even do as an adult- I suppose that's just me, though, which means I probably would have lost patience with Valentina very early on.

    However, I love the title!

  3. Amanda - There is a very intense almost dreamlike quality to this book. It was a trip.

    Clare - Valentina was something else and so was Francie. It is a great title though and there's a great line to go with it in the book.

  4. I do like the sound of the book. I have to say that somethimes the language in a book is so..well let's just say the author tries to be hip and modern, and I can't understand what they are saying, because i'm not in highschool anymore. :) Pfff..
    Anyway I think I'm going to read this book, afterall I already have it on my tbrlist.
    Thanks for the great review.

  5. I have had friends like that as well. Everything is just so intense. I am kind of an intense person sometimes (I blame it on being a Scorpio) but never in a "I will pull you into my dark web of secrets" kind of way. Just I feel everything more intensely I think. It's a curious dynamic this friendship they had. I am glad you are still friends with the girl from college.


Comments are so awesome. Thanks for taking the time. I do reserve the right to remove any comments that are offensive and/or spam.