Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book review: Send

 All photos from www.pattyblount.com
Send by Patty Blount is a teen fiction book with high aspirations.  When Kenny Mele's family is threatened after his return from a juvenile detention,  they change their identities and move to another state along the eastern seaboard. Now his name is Daniel Ellison and he has many secrets to keep.  He meets Julie on his first day at a new school when he helps Brandon, who is about to be beaten by the school bully.  Dan has secrets to hide but as he falls deeper and deeper for Julie, he discovers that the secrets which keep him safe also cause a riff in their relationship.

Dan and Julie's struggles to keep Brandon from harm, to deal with their individual problems, and to build a healthy relationship are compounded by secrets that threaten their lives.

What's to love: Blount's use of simile and her descriptions of character are nothing short of beautiful.  I also love her realistic dialog. Today's young adults may use foul language in ways I would never consider appropriate, but they also have a better command of language than adults give them credit for and Blount understands this.

Although Dan's imaginary "self" is distracting, the character of Kenny works.  I kept thinking Kenny would disappear at some point and tried to anticipate that.  It helps immensely that Kenny's dialog is in italics, but it's still confusing when other characters are also in a scene with Dan and Kenny.  As the narrator, Dan tells his story and brings us into his head when Kenny appears.  He describes Kenny, as though he is real but continually reminds us that he is not.  Yeah. Odd. But it works.

What's not to love: Blount's use of repetition gets old. I do not want to be told the same details three (or five) times. A motif should appear several times but motifs have a literary purpose.  Repeated details rarely do. I kept wishing the story would move along instead of telling me again details that I already know.  One such detail is that Pop hasn't spoken to Dan in years.  In fact Pop really has no specific purpose.  Dan's character is broken and confused, but his grandfather adds little to his angst or his eventual quietude.  

Awards: Junior Library Guild Selection 2012 
                  Kindle Teen Romance Bestseller. 

Addition Books by Patty Blount: Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior TMI (due out in August of 2013)

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