Review of Flannery

moore_flannerystar2 Flannery
by Lisa Moore
High School    Groundwood    272 pp.
5/16    978-1-55498-076-5    $16.95
e-book ed.  978-1-55498-873-0    $16.95

Sixteen-year-old Flannery has a lot on her plate: she can’t afford her biology textbook (in fact, her free-spirited artist mother can’t even pay the utility bill), and her best friend Amber is unhealthily obsessed with a sketchy new boyfriend. Then Flannery is paired up with her crush for her big Entrepreneurship class project. Tyrone had been her fun-loving childhood playground buddy, but now he’s an outlaw graffiti artist who makes Flannery feel all “boom, boom, boom” inside. When Tyrone is around, he’s affable and sincere — just as appealing as Flannery’s earnest swooning seems to justify. When he’s not around (which is often), Flannery is left scrambling to get their project — a love potion business — off the ground. Flannery narrates with a direct, engaging voice that slips fluidly from internal monologue to dialogue (unmarked by punctuation) to flashbacks. Tracking the action through a particular scene can be challenging, but the process of following Flannery’s narrative whims and creative turns of phrase results in an unusually close reader-protagonist interaction. Flannery’s winsome nature is balanced by an honest, aching depiction of the pressures of growing up in poverty as well as an intensifying conflict with her feckless but well-meaning mother. More than a teen romance, this poignant, intimate novel is a thoughtful, mature exploration of the joys — and hazards — of love of all sorts.

From the May/June 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Jessica Tackett MacDonald

Jessica Tackett MacDonald is a collection development librarian at the Boston Public Library, specializing in youth and teen collections. She holds masters degrees in library science and children’s literature from Simmons University.

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