Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Review of The Making of Nebraska Brown By Louise Caiola

 One of the greatest things about having a blog is that I get to meet great people and I get to read their books and review them once in a while. So I was really happy when I received an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of the book, "The Making of Nebraska Brown" from Immortal Ink Publishing and Louise Caiola.
Though I received this book for free, it has in no way influenced my review here.

First, I have to tell you that this book, a Young Adult book, is not my typical reading fare. It's just not my genre. Heck, if I write any YA, it really pushes the envelope...some consider it YA, and others say it goes to far to be YA. I agree with those people. So as I was reading this book, I realized something very important. Apparently, I don't have a favorite genre at all. This book blew me away. I apparently just like books that have great characters that tell a great story.

That's it.

So here is a synopsis straight from Immortal Ink Publishing (IIP) website:

The last thing eighteen-year-old Ann Leigh remembers is running from her boyfriend in a thick Nebraska cornfield. This morning she’s staring down a cool Italian sunrise, an entire continent from the life she once knew. The events of the eighteen months in between have inexplicably gone missing from her memory.
All at once she’s living with Tommy, an attractive, young foreigner asking for her continued love. Though he’s vaguely familiar, she recalls a boy named Shane in America who she reluctantly agreed to marry. Juggling a new world while her old one is still M.I.A is difficult enough without the terrifying movie scenes spinning a dizzy loop in her mind: glimpses of a devastating house fire, a romance gone wrong, an unplanned pregnancy, and a fractured family – each claiming to be part of who she once was – a girl and a past somehow discarded.
Ann Leigh must collect the pieces of herself to become whole again, but she doesn’t know who to trust especially when Tommy’s lies become too obvious to ignore. And above all, her heart aches to discover what became of the child she may or may not have given birth to.
The Making of Nebraska Brown tells the story of one girl’s coming apart from the inside and the great lengths she’ll go to reclaim herself and find her way home.

Let's get right into what I liked about this book, and I am going to avoid giving too much away :)

Main Character: Ann Leigh was probably the most really protagonist that I have read in a while. Some of the parts of her story broke my heart. I really was on the trip with her to discover who she is and what has happened. I am very reluctant to say too much because i won't everyone to get the pure enjoyment I had in reading this book. Suffice to say, the character of Ann Leigh was strong enough to carry this book hands down. She was real, not too perfect, a good person on the inside, but flawed as well. There were times, in the book, where I was angry about some of her actions and some of the things that she said. Great character!

Style: Writers spend all of their lives perfecting a writing style. Ms. Caiola has won me over with the way she writes. She has a flow in her writing that is almost like a dance. One part grace and two parts careful observation. For instance, in one part, she describes the way that someone listens with "She leaned in. I liked the way she had of listening with all the parts of her." It reminds me of people I know who make me feel as if I am the most important person in the room when they speak to me. Her descriptions of people and places are fantastic, especially when  Ann Leigh is comparing one to another, like comparing Tommy to Shane in her fragmented memories. She says, "Then he pulled me in, resting his damp chin on top of my head. He smelled salty, soapy. Ten perfect fingers danced across my back. Not one was missing a significant portion. Not one had been involved in an ugly disfiguring accident."

Settings: Especially the parts in Italy. I have never been. So the parts in Italy made me feel like I was there.Especially the use of the language and the fact that Ms. Caiola was careful to place something in the narrative that helped me to stay up on what was being said. Ms. Caiola was good about describing sights, but also smells and sounds that were helpful in placing me there.

Altogether, The Making of Nebraska Brown is a great book that I would recommend to anyone who likes a great YA mystery with heart. Great great book!

Here is a link so that you can sign up to be notified when this book is ready for purchase. It is coming really soon. I heard February 6th! Pick it up and see if I didn't just point you to a book that is going to be a best-seller.

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