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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Gravity Brings Me Down by Natale Ghent

When I found out that Natale Ghent was visiting my library, I thought I'd read one of her books so I'd have something to chat with her about. Little did I know that I would love Gravity Brings Me Down so much. 

A smart and thoughtful story about self-discovery, acceptance, and finding friendship — all in the places you’d least expect.
Sioux Smith is sharp, funny, and wry, and is pretty certain that she sees the world of high school differently from everyone else — a belief that is cemented when she makes an uneasy discovery about one of her school’s “popular” teachers. And while she feels alone at her high school and in her unique slant on small-town life, Sioux finds a kindred spirit in the most unlikely of people: an elderly stranger, who has more insight despite her progressing dementia than anyone else in Sioux’s life. What Sioux and “Miss Marple” learn about each other over tea, illicitly secreted wine, and Coronation Street, makes for a novel with heart and grit in equal measure. 

I love books with quirky teens who don't quiiite fit in. They're harder to find than you might think, given that most authors are probably at least a little quirky. Natale succeeds in making Sioux a fully believable, snarky, quirky teen. I enjoyed being in Sioux's head so much that I actually finished this in one sitting. It's packed full of doodles and illustrations that really add to Sioux's already strong personality. 

I think this one is a bit hard to sell to teens, only because there is no 'hook'. There's no short summary like, "teens get thrown into an arena and have to kill each other!" ba-dum ching! That being said, I think if teens pick this one up they'll really be able to relate to it and find themselves in it, so I hope they do. It's been nominated for the 2011 White Pine Award so I hope this will gain it a wider audience. 

Recommended to outsiders, oddballs, and those who don't quiiiite fit in.

(reviewed from a purchased copy)

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