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LAST DANCE AT THE FROSTY QUEEN by Richard Uhlig

LAST DANCE AT THE FROSTY QUEEN

By Richard Uhlig

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-375-83967-2
Publisher: Knopf

In the mire of small-town life, one young man struggles against an apathetic family and conniving girlfriend to escape. Planning to leave Kansas behind in favor of a job on a shipping freighter, Arthur Flood becomes entangled in a family reunion, a pregnancy scare and a scandalous affair. Flood gradually falls in love with Vanessa Said, a mysterious young woman who ultimately provides him with an 11th-hour escape after his familial and romantic relationships become too confining. Astute readers will catch the 1980s references in the text, but Uhlig chooses exposition to establish the time period; this creates a distracting temporal flux throughout the narrative. The diction hits several false notes, adding an odd modern flavor to the retro narrative. Flood and Said’s developing relationship is well plotted, accurately reflecting the hormonal highs and lows of adolescent males. Occasionally bitter observations regarding life in a small town are tempered by the foibles of the characters. Barry’s Bottom-esque malapropisms are especially enjoyable; less successful attempts at humor include the insipid nicknames for Flood’s hearse. Though there are no serious flaws, reaching the end of the tale feels much like an escape as well. (Fiction. YA)