Book Title: Somewhere Green
Author: Karin N. Mango
Genre/Audience: Fiction; middle/high school
Worth the read?: Yes!
Several years ago, my high school library went through that compulsory book purge that happens every so often, and they offered up an entire cart of books free to anyone taking interest. I, then new to this whole “reading for fun” thing, decided to take around 15 books from the cart, including an old, battered copy of Because of Winn Dixie and several mid-80s or early-90s hardbacks that looked as if they’d never been opened. Somewhere Green was one such book.
It just seemed like the kind of book that deserved a place in someone’s collection, you know? I’ve looked at it from time to time over the years, but never took the leap because it screamed “upper-elementary life-lesson book.” (Not that that’s a problem: see other blog posts.) But last time I was home I got on a reading kick and thought, what the hey, let’s take a second chance on this seemingly obscure book.
I must say, what a great decision on my part!
The book was, much to my pleasant surprise, not an upper-elementary life-lesson book; it was definitely a life-lesson book, but the intended audience was older.
The young characters are struggling to adjust to a new life in the city when their parents announce that they’re leaving to do research abroad. The kids are left in the care of a housekeeper, attentive neighbors and family check-ins, but of course things don’t go as planned. The ups and downs are realistic, even amidst a somewhat unbelievable scenario, and the characters, for the most part, are even-handed representations of teens.
In fact, I think this was one of the most honest representations of the teenage plight that I have read in quite some time. Bryony, the main character and narrator, experiences raw and real emotions in ways that only teenagers can. The author handles issues of abandonment, cultural diversity, responsibility, sex and maturity with boldness, and I really appreciate the story for everything that it is. It is complex and simple all at once.
This book was definitely worth the rescue, and even more worth the read.
When I finished reading, I logged it on my Goodreads account and was saddened to discover that I was right about it being obscure: the book had no reviews or ratings. I don’t typically rate or review my Goodreads books, but I felt so sad that I simply had to leave a positive review. I enjoyed Somewhere Green enough that I’m interested in reading more of the author’s work, too.
I really recommend this book if you’re in the mood for life lessons and the shenanigans of three kids left unattended for not days, not weeks, but months.
If you’d like to borrow my copy, let me know. 😉