Grit by Gillian French (294 pages)
Overview: At the heart of this story lies the message: Every label isn't true, in fact, they usually aren't. Darcy knows this better than most people. Ever since that one night sophomore year and a rumor built from fear and jealousy, Darcy has been labeled easy. Over time, she's stopped trying to fight it and embraced what everyone, including her own aunt, says about her. After all, it's close to the only choice she has in the tiny, rural Maine town. And as blueberry raking season begins at the start of the summer and both locals and migrants converge, more truths behind others start to come out including about Rhiannon, the girl who disappeared from the blueberry fields a year ago. As the summer progresses, it becomes stunningly clear that everything is not as simple as it once appeared and that some of the labels hid startling truths that harbored dangerous consequences. Through berry raking season, a mystery summer pageant, late night parties at the quarry, and an investigation into a cold case, Darcy, her sister Mag, and cousin, Nell all have to face truths about themselves and each other as the intensity rises and the stakes become higher. Overall: 5
Characters: 5 Each of the characters are very well crafted and so realistic. Darcy must grapple with her unfounded reputation, her feelings about it, and the constant negativity from many in her lives including her pessimistic aunt, Libby. Then there's overprotective Mags who feels responsible for Nell and Darcy. Nell, despite being the oldest, has this pervasive feeling of innocence and must take work with special ed teachers at school, that leads both girls to look out for her. Though this exterior covers deeper secrets from people who could reach out and help Nell through the tricky situations she finds herself buried in.
Plot: 5 The story is just intoxicating. I could not stop turning the pages, drinking up Darcy's story of navigating suffocating small town life and scarring past events over the course of one thrilling summer full of nonstop conflict and ups and downs to navigate.
Writing: 5 I was amazed by the writing. It is poetic and lyrical, painting a beautiful picture for the reader. The way she illustrates the rural Maine town and all the characters that live in it enhances the story and transports you to another world. The complexity and mystery infused into this tale of the summer before senior year makes this a book not to be missed. The story certainly lives up to the interesting title and description.
Links of Interest:
Week 29 Part 1: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/10/weekly-reviews-and-recommendations-week_4.html