ALIVE AND WELL IN PRAGUE, NEW YORK by Daphne Grab

ALIVE AND WELL IN PRAGUE, NEW YORK

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A Manhattan teen lives upstate while adapting to her father’s illness. Sixteen-year-old Matisse Osgood’s father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease five years ago, and she quickly grew tired of the false sympathy and prying questions from her Upper West Side classmates. After her family relocates to upstate New York, Matisse embraces dual strategies of denial and repression regarding her dad’s condition. The high-school rumor mill soon starts up, leaving Matisse to evaluate both school friendships and familial relationships. Coupling City love with awkward rural adventures, Grab creates a teen-driven Green Acres dramatic comedy. Equally concerned for her parents and for herself, Matisse allows readers to feel both sick for her and of her. Touching reminiscences establish the father-daughter relationship while accommodating the natural tension between adolescents and adults. Secondary characters are thinly developed, however, and Matisse’s quick dismissal of neighbor-boy Hal comes across as cheap plot manipulation. These flaws notwithstanding, an excellent narrative voice, touching emotional connection and playful rural activities will take readers on their own relaxing hayride. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-125670-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Laura Geringer/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2008