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Note: This review contains NO spoilers
The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things, by Ann Aguirre, is a fun and quirky Young Adult novel that focused a lot on the ups and downs of teenagers, especially when starting over again. And, that's just the story for Sage, with a past she wants to leave behind, she starts a bright new life in a small quaint town...until she meets Shane. Of course, Sage learns that she's not the only one that has a past that wants to be kept hidden.
Ann Aguirre has created this cute and fun story of teenage life with some serious undertones. I loved her character development. The personalities of her characters had many layers and depth creating that realism of your average teenager in high school. Pretty witty of Ann to create that high school atmosphere with your typical cliques...which made me feel like I was in high school...again!?! <shudder> Whoa! Those high school memories...lol! And...the story development! Ann wrote an interesting story of teens dealing with the everyday issues of high school and relationships. Although Ann intertwined several serious issues, she integrated these issues into the storyline with realism and respect...without over dramatizing it. However, about the second half of the book, the story dragged a bit, but didn't take away from the story itself.
Told in Sage's point of view, I enjoyed how the book read like a journal or as if I was "seeing" and "hearing" through her eyes. From beginning to end, I enjoyed "watching" Sage grow and see her confidence/self esteem develop. As with all the characters, Sage and her fellow schoolmates each are multi-layered, complex personalities steering through growing up. I also liked going through Sage and Shane's developing romance. It wasn't sappy or mushy...a "slap in your face" love at first sight deal. I really enjoyed reading the slow and awkward romantic progress between these two characters.
Well, all in all, The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things is a fun and quirky tale of growing up...with a taste of a reality of some serious and sensitive issues that many teens deal with everyday. I would have to say that this would be a good read for both parents and teens. Ann Aguirre created an incredibly realistic young adult story worth reading.
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