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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Keening - A. LaFaye (Young Adult)

Released April 2010

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

It's 1918 in the small town of Kingsley Cove, Maine, and residents are succumbing to a flu epidemic. While teenager Lyza Layton and her father, Evan, survive the virus, Lyza's mother, Mayra, isn't so lucky. For Lyza, the problems are only beginning. Her father's often been the talk of the town because he doesn't put much care into his fashions and he eats when he wants to. He's eccentric, and while Lyza and her mother cherished his quirks, the townspeople consider him to be too strange.

Things worsen when Evan insists Lyza's mother is going to return. Mayra's family are upset that she married Lyza's father to begin with and also turned her back on the church. Mayra didn't believe in religious ceremonies. After her death, Lyza's grandmother and uncles return to the picture demanding a proper burial and threatening Lyza and Evan. Lyza fights them the best she can, but while Evan grieves, too many talk of institutionalizing him. Lyza must now fight to keep her father with her. Turning to the only person she thinks can help, Lyza discovers more about her father and herself than she could ever possibly know and believing it is going to be a challenge.

The writing in The Keening is full of amazing imagery. The author captures the essence of Maine right down to the cold winter breeze coming in from the ocean. It's incredibly easy to imagine yourself as part of Lyza's world.

Lyza's tough and quite a likable heroine. There's a paranormal aspect to the story that I think many teens will love. This is an impressive novel and one I know will be a keeper for many avid young adult readers who want a story with depth.

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