Let me tell you the story of a girl.
She's 13. She lives in a small, isolated town where nothing happens, especially during the summer. But this summer is especially excruciating. See, she found out not long ago that her dad had been having an affair, and her parents are now divorced. The divorce was messy and awkward and awful for the kids, as it always is no matter how the parents handle it. Especially at that age, when you're just figuring life and romantic relationships out for yourself. To find out at 13 that your Dad, who's supposed to be your model of future husband, has been lying to not only your mom but you, for years? And then have him walk out and go live with another woman, another family, while you try to pick up the pieces with your mom? HARSH.
Especially when your mom isn't taking it very well. And your dad somehow expects you to not only forgive him, but act like everything's normal. Like he has a right to still be your dad.
That girl is Dani Callanzano, the star of Nova Ren Suma's fabulous debut middle-grade novel DANI NOIR.
But that girl was also me.
So much about this book paralleled my own experiences at exactly that age that a few pages were almost hard to read. It was like dipping into my own brain at that time--an awful time. It was so real; she captured that experience so well. I cried during a couple of scenes that might even surprise Nova, because they were so true.
But fortunately, Dani is also a wonderful girl with a whole, well-rounded world, and there's far more to Dani's story than that experience of divorce. There's old movies, and friendships, the love of Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner and the excitement of sneaking out to do a little detective work herself. I adored Dani, and I loved spending time with her: facing up to challenges her way, with her own noir twist.
Nova's skillfully balanced the tough and the funny, the snarky voice of 13 with the real emotions she's battling with, the helplessness inherent in being that age and the ways to take your own back.
I loved DANI NOIR, and highly recommend you check it out too. And like Courtney Summers says, make popcorn.
(also, I am so excited to be hosting Nova Ren Suma soon for a fantastic interview and giveaway!! STAY TUNED, people)
FTC notice: I bought this book myself, so there.