Wednesday, February 02, 2011


I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

16-year-old Nora Lindell disappears one Halloween night and is never heard from again. Her disappearance has a profound effect on her male classmates who spend decades wondering what happened to her.  The young men come up with various scenarios about what might have happened to Nora over the years and they can't seem to get past their obsession with her.  While the various possibilities of what happened to Nora are interesting, the true story surrounds the young men and how Nora's disappearance frames their lives and the men they become.

I really appreciated Pittard's original plot structure. She found a truly creative way to frame a coming-of-age story of a group of boys. While Nora's disappearance provides the background and structure for the story, it is really the boys' reaction to the disappearance and how they are affected by it that provides the true theme. In fact, I often found the meanderings into the "what if.." storylines behind Nora's disppearance distracting. Pittard is at her best when she focuses on the struggles the boys face as they grow up.  The different theories behind Nora's disappearance aren't nearly as compelling.  Each young man is affected by Nora's loss in a different way and this one event seems to shape them in unexpected ways.

In spite of the clever plot structure and story idea, I often found myself frustrated by this book.  The story isn't particularly linear so I often found it confusing. I wasn't sure what point in time Pittard was referring to in each chapter so I had to constantly reorient myself as a reader. The digressions into Nora theories were also a bit jarring and distracting.  However, I think Pittard does an excellent job in describing the business of growing up and how singular events, both big and small, can have profound effects on the people we become.

BOTTOM LINE: Recommended.  This is a very original novel. If you can get past the digressions and the sometimes confusing plot structure, you will find a truly unique coming-of-age book.


Amie said...

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eGarrison said...

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