First of all, how brilliant is this cover? It's just so pretty! And, those curlicue ribbons aren't just for show, either, but you'll have to read it to figure out what that's all about. I will give you a clue, it has to do with science, something which LaVaughn, the main character in this, the third in the Make Lemonade trilogy, is really, really great at. I have been waiting so long for this book that I thought it might never come, but Virginia Euwer Wolff is not a woman to be rushed because great things take time! I have been getting so lucky with all the new stuff that's coming out lately. I've read the new Mitali Perkins, the new Justina Chen Headley, the new Meg Cabot and now this! Wow! This was totally worth the wait!!!!
Why did I love this book so much?
*It's written in poetry form - a form I really enjoy in novels (see Shark Girl entry, here)
*ALL the important characters from the other books are back - Jolly and her two kids, Jody, LaVaughn's mother. It was like old home week to meet up with them again.
*LaVaughn is a ROCK STAR at science, which is why she gets invited to join the Women in Sicence program which invited only forty-five girls. I love books about smart girls!
*LaVaughn is not perfect, but she's a good person, and I am proud to be her friend in the pages of this novel.
This novel could be read as a stand alone, but I wouldn't recommend it. I think LaVaughn's backstory plays a huge role in understanding a lot of what's happening in this novel and makes this story much richer. Knowing about Jolly and how she has struggled with raising two kids and trying to get her GED makes you cheer that much more loudly when she succeeds, and makes your heart go out to Annie that much more. Knowing about what happened to Jody makes the sweetness of the final pages that much better. Knowing how her mother has felt about her babysitting for Jolly since the start makes you realize the depths of her empathy when she still goes out of her way to bake Jolly a cake for her party.
This novel has a huge ethical dilemma in it which would make it an excellent book to read with another person to try and decide what you might do in LaVaughn's shoes. Does she make the right choices? Would you have done the same if you were in her shoes? I'd be interested to know, so leave me a comment if you've read the book!
Available at Multnomah County Library.