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Goldengrove by Francine Prose

GoldengroveNico never truly realized how much her sister Margaret meant to her until Margaret drowned and died. She never really understood just how much she needed Margaret’s presence. Not Nico’s life is spiraling steadily downward. Nobody understands Nico’s pain, not ever her own mourning parents, except perhaps Aaron, Margaret’s grieving boyfriend. But even with Aaron, Nico is not completely sure of herself. She finds herself constantly worrying, over her undefined relationship with Aaron, over her parents’ coping mechanisms, over her own health. But most of all, she chases after Margaret. In this sad novel, Prose explores what it’s like to deal with a sister and role model’s death when you’re only a teen.

Goldengrove was a well-written novels; however, it attempted to tack the difficult subject of dealing with death and wasn’t entirely successful in its purpose. Part of the problem was that I wasn’t able to connect with Nico. It was difficult for me to sympathize with her because her story was not very compelling. Also, I felt that Prose failed at portraying Nico as a teen; it was too obvious that Nico’s teen character was created by an adult. The story redeemed itself near the end. It was sad that Nico had to grow up so quickly, but it was realistic. However, I didn’t like how when it seemed like young Nico was starting to accept Margaret’s death, the story fast forwarded to Nico as an adult. I would’ve liked more of Nico the teen’s emotional journey.

Overall, I’d say that Goldengrove was a good but not spectacular novel dealing with death. I prefer other books on the same subject, such as Saving Zoë by Alyson Noël, Freeze Frame by Heidi Ayarbe, and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher because Goldengrove was just not a complete interesting story.

Rating: 2.5

Review copy from Amazon Vine

3 munch(es) :

Serena said...

sounds like this one is a mixed bag.

Leigh Purtill said...

Some very intriguing comments on your end...altho I haven't read the book, I'd love to know more about what you mean when you say it was obvious the character was created by an adult.

Rachael Stein said...

C. Leigh Purtill -

I think it was a good attempt to portray a grieving teen, but it just didn't seem completely authentic and natural to me. I mean, it was okay, I guess, but just not great.

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