Thursday, March 4, 2010

Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney, reviewed by Miss Ami

Doomed loves, failed families, nixed dreams someone else's leftovers are heaped on our plates the day we come into this world.

Big Macs and pop tunes mask the emptiness as Madeline watches her mom drink away their welfare checks. Until the day Tad, a quirky McDonald's counter boy, asks Madeline out for a date, and she gets her first taste of normal. But with a life that s anything but, how long can normal really last?

Hanging with Jeremy, avoiding Mam, sticking Do Not Disturb Post-its on her heart, Desiree's mission is simple: party hard, graduate (well, maybe), get out of town. But after Desiree accepts half a meatball grinder, a cold drink, and a ride from her mother's boyfriend one rainy afternoon, nothing is ever simple again.

Too many AP classes. Workaholic mom. Dad in prison. Still, Ariel's sultry new boyfriend, Shane, manages to make even the worst days delicious. But when an unexpected phone call forces a trip to visit a sick grandmother she's never met, revealing her family's dark past, Ariel struggles to find the courage to make the right choice for her own future.

As three girls from three different decades lives converge, they discover they are connected ways they could never imagine. Each of them finds strength that brings her closer to healing a painful past, and faith that there is a happier future.

Okay, heresy alert: I didn't love it (cringing in anticipation of reaction).

I know, I know, I'm the only person in the world who did not fall in love with it, and I know, it made the Cybils short list. I LIKED it, it's good, interesting, well-written, I thought about it during the day when I had to put it down and actually attend to my job and family, I just...didn't love it.

Maybe it was an inevitable letdown after all the glowing reviews I have read about it. I do know the switching from prose to poetry got on my nerves - I like books in poetry form just fine, and I could see that the change in form helped set the characters apart, it just wasn't working for me this time.

I did LIKE the book, however, and definitely recommend it. The characters are believable and you very quickly get pulled into their worlds. Even though some were the type of girls I wouldn't like in real life, I liked their characters, if that makes any sense. The way their stories wove together weren't terribly shocking by the end, but that was okay - I think the point was more that both the characters and the readers understand that there is more to a person than their current situations and decisions.

I gave it to the teen last night to see what she thinks of it. She 'forgot' she was supposed to be cleaning her room because she was engrossed in reading, which is a good sign (for the book, not for the state of her room). I'll post her thoughts when she has finished (with the book - the room, let's face it, will never really be clean).


  1. I think that baby has made you lose your mind. I am slightly obsessed with this HAVE to love it! don't have to, but I wish you had. Boo.

  2. lol - sorry! I think M will be on your side. She is about 2/3 of the way through, with the baby perched on one arm, shouting "Seriously?!" every two minutes. I keep giving her mini lectures about boys like Shane:)