Age Range: 12 & up
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A literal blood feud in which warring factions of the same family have engaged for a century suffuses this readable if overwrought story of love between teens from opposing sides. Seventeen-year-old Kaitlin Malone, living with her mother and sister on their farm in contemporary northern California, has grown up detesting the wealthy Crutchfields—and they her side of the family. Misunderstandings and lies about each clan that have been perpetuated for generations have fueled the animosity, but Kaitlin’s even worse dilemma is that she and schoolmate Bram Crutchfield fall deeply in love almost from the moment they meet, though under false pretenses. Forced by straitened finances to attend a public high school—situated on Crutchfield land—Kaitlin enrolls under an assumed surname. It turns out that there’ll be more need for secrecy than “mere” bad blood, however. Not until she learns Bram’s last name does Kaitlin realize that he’s not only the “enemy” but also the son of the man her father is in prison for killing. To keep the relationship flourishing, she is forced to continue lying and weaves a more and more elaborate web of deceit in which she, her family, and her and Bram’s friends become hopelessly entangled. Enlightenment and hope that something good can emerge from the age-old enmity come when Kaitlin reads the journals of the family’s progenitor, a dedicated and talented writer like she is. In the journals Kaitlin discovers the truth behind the age-old disputes, and the diaries seem finally to point Kaitlin and Bram to a legacy of promise and not continued blind hatred. Romeo and Juliet this isn’t, but fans of teen angst and undying-love stories will probably appreciate the effort. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-15-202320-8
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2001


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