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MISTIK LAKE by Martha Brooks Kirkus Star


by Martha Brooks

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-374-34985-1
Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

This beautifully crafted novel explores the lives and secrets of three generations of females in a Canadian family, especially teenager Odella, who narrates most chapters. For years, Odella has coped with, and protected, her alcoholic mother, Sally, who finally deserts the family. Sally’s never recovered emotionally from surviving a terrible car accident at Mistik Lake, described in a dramatic prologue sure to pull in readers. Interspersed with Odella’s narrative, chapters about Sally’s aunt Gloria, now in her 70s, slowly reveal that she’s a lesbian, now part of a stable, loving couple after years of struggle and secrecy. Six short chapters focus on Jimmy, Odella’s kind new boyfriend, who introduces Odella to intriguing, slightly mystical, aspects of her Icelandic heritage. Brooks draws distinct, real characters including Odella’s two younger sisters, the anchors in her life. The setting also comes alive in exquisite prose that conveys the scenery and seasons of Manitoba. An exceptional writer, Brooks once again immerses readers in a fully realized fictional world and leaves them potentially wiser for the experience. (Fiction. YA)