Tangled by Carolyn Mackler. Grades 7+. HarperTeen, December 2009. Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.
Carolyn Mackler does it again in this compulsively readable novel about four teens whose lives become connected after a spring vacation at a Caribbean resort. Jena, Dakota, Skye, and Owen each have their own issues and when their lives briefly touch at Paradise resort, they have no idea how it'll effect them.
I love Carolyn Mackler and I was so excited to see that she has a new book coming out! Once I started it, I absolutely couldn't put it down.
The story is more like four connected novellas, each from a different perspective. First we get Jena's point of view. She's a somewhat frumpy girl who's mortified when her mom tells her they'll be spending spring break at a resort with her mom's best friend and her daughter Skye. Skye is perfect. She's thin and beautiful, attends a prestigious private school, has a gorgeous boyfriend, and acts on TV and in movies. Their moms can't seem to understand that the two girls hate being pushed together, expected to be friends because their moms are friends. Don't they get that Jena and Skye have nothing in common?
I fell in love with Jena and would have been quite happy reading an entire book about her, but then we move on to Dakota's story. And then Skye's story. And then Owen's. With each transition I felt a little jarred, but quickly fell into each of the different stories. And with each perspective change, we find out how the trip to Paradise and the events that happened there have changed everything.
Would you call this an issue book? Hmm. There are a lot of issues involved. Each character has his or her own Problem. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll leave it at that. You might call this an issue book. But I think the story was more about each character's journey - dealing with the issues that they have and taking a hard look at their own lives. About each character coming to realize that she can change her life. What happened in the past doesn't have to dictate who you are in the future.
Tangled is out on December 29, so when your Cybils shortlist is in, take a short reading break, but not too long because you won't want to wait to pick this one up!