book thoughts: Strings Attached by Judy Blundell (2011)

Strings_attached_by_judy_blundell

  What?  A YA book that is not a “sequel” or a “compaion” and doesn’t involve vampire fairy zombies?  I wasn’t sure they would still publish something like this, especially since the writing is so good.

I loved Judy Blundell’s first YA book What I Saw and How I Lied (and I wasn’t alone, it received the 2008 National Book Award for Young Adult Fiction).  Strings Attached is another historical fiction novel with that bit of a mystery noir twist.  It’s 1950 and Kit Corrigan has run off to New York City to try to break into Broadway.  When we join her, she is a chorus girl dancing in a production that is about to open and sure to close within the month.  She is trying to figure out how to survive on what little money she gets, living with another dancer, whose mother is a penny pinching nag.  After rehearsal, there is a bit of a blow-up between the two girls and Kit realized that she can’t stay there any longer.  She sets out on her own and happens to run into Nate Benedict, the father of her ex-boyfriend from back home.  Odd coincidence.  What’s even stranger is that Nate has an apartment all ready to rent…and he gives it to Kit.  Kit, being a combination of naive and desperate, accepts the place, not thinking about the complications that could quickly arise.

Blundell opts to tell the story out of order and the non-linear way the plot unfolds keeps readers wondering what exactly is going on – why did Kit leave home?  Why is Nate so quick to offer her this place?  What happened to her ex-boyfriend? 

You won’t want to put this book down because Blundell carefully hands you each piece of the puzzle, but then holds on to the final bit, that middle piece that brings it all together, until the last page. Her well researched writing brings 1950s Manhattan back to life and the reader gets a great feel for the city and what was going on behind the scenes. 

Fantastic and one of my favorite reads of 2011 so far!

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