Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blue Plate Special by Michelle Kwasney

Plot Summary:
Madeline: Big Macs and pop tunes mask the emptiness as Madeline watches her mom drink away their welfare checks. Until the day Tad, a quirky McDonald's counter boy, asks Madeline out for a date, and she gets her first taste of normal. But with a life that s anything but, how long can normal really last?

Desiree: Hanging with Jeremy, avoiding Mam, sticking Do Not Disturb Post-its on her heart, Desiree's mission is simple: party hard, graduate (well, maybe), get out of town. But after Desiree accepts half a meatball grinder, a cold drink, and a ride from her mother's boyfriend one rainy afternoon, nothing is ever simple again.

Ariel: Too many AP classes. Workaholic mom. Dad in prison. Still, Ariel's sultry new boyfriend, Shane, manages to make even the worst days delicious. But when an unexpected phone call forces a trip to visit a sick grandmother she's never met, revealing her family's dark past, Ariel struggles to find the courage to make the right choice for her own future.

As three girls from three different decades lives converge, they discover they are connected ways they could never imagine. Each of them finds strength that brings her closer to healing a painful past, and faith that there is a happier future.

I almost didn’t pick up this book because the title isn’t grabby, and the cover looks a bit non-fiction. But then I read a couple reviews, and decided to pick up a copy. I’m glad I did. This is a quieter book than some of the other YA available, and at first glance, it doesn't differentiate itself from the rest. But if you stick with it, you will be pleasantly surprised.

I love intricate plots, and I get super excited when story elements seem to stand alone, but are really linked somehow. How those links are revealed shows a lot about the level of talent the writer has, and I thought Kwasney did an excellent job. When I started to see how these girls were connected, the geek in me got super excited. The way the story is written gives the reader a ton of insight into their lives – so much more than we get in the usual YA.

The resolution wasn't as strong or thorough as I'd hoped, and endings are important to me so that was a bit of a let-down. But I am still very glad I read it.

If you like quiet books with an interesting twist, then this is definitely the book for you.


Marcia said...

I like to support quiet books, and I love "unexpected connections." One thing I noticed right away is that those names don't SOUND like girls from three different eras. But I want to go put this one on reserve. Good post, as always. :)

Tabitha said...

Yeah, they sound like three girls from the same era. But as you read each girl's story, the era comes through pretty well. And Kwasney did a nice job giving them unique voices.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Thanks for the review. I probably wouldn't have picked up this book randomly, because of the cover, but it sounds like a good one. :-)

Bish Denham said...

I've put this one on my list. Thanks!

PJ Hoover said...

This book really hooked me and kept me reading. I loved it when I started to figure out the connections and really wanted to understand how they came to be.

BTW, did you notice under the paper cover, the hardback cover has the plate unbroken?

Tabitha said...

Shannon - it's amazing how much influence a cover can have, isn't it? If I hadn't read that other review, I doubt I would have picked this book up, and the cover definitely factored into that decision.

Bish - sure! And here's a quiet heads up...I'm going to give away my copy of this book next month. :)

PJ - yes I did see that! I always take off the cover when I read a hardback because I don't want it to get crinkled, but I didn't fully appreciate the unbroken plate until I'd finished the story. :)

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

this sounds like a good cuddle in bed and read book.

Tabitha said...

It is. :)
Once you get into it, you definitely won't want to put it down.

Christina Farley said...

I love books with intricate plots so this might be my 'cup of chocolate'.

Sherrie Petersen said...

I hadn't heard of this book so I'm glad you reviewed it. Sounds like it might be a good read.