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In the Cards: Life by Mariah Fredericks

November 30th, 2008 (08:33 pm)
thirsty

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: Tinker Bell score music

When an elderly woman passes away, she leaves her three cats and her deck of tarot cards to her young neighbor Anna and her two best friends, Eve and Syd. Each girl narrates one book of the In the Cards trilogy, which is best read in order:

#1 Love (Read my mini-review)
#2 Fame (Read my full-length review)
#3 Life (You are here!)

In the Cards: Life

You can't control what life is going to throw at you, but you can control how you catch it and how you deal with it.

The quietest of the three friends takes the reins in the third and final volume. Syd likes to play piano, but is reluctant to play in front of other people. She used to love practicing with her father, who is also a pianist, but they haven't played together in a little while. Her dad isn't acting like himself lately. He's had trouble at work and seems sad almost all of the time now. Syd thinks he's drinking when she and her mother are gone or asleep.

Meanwhile, Syd has become like a mother to her elderly cat, Beesley. He has special medication that he must take regularly, so Syd takes extra special care of him. When Eve gets the chance to audition for a televised talent program, Syd wants to go, but she also wants to stay home to be with Beesley. Her father swears he'll give Bees his medicine, and her mother tells her to trust her dad and that everything will be okay. Syd almost cancels her plans, but ends up taking the trip. When she comes back home . . . it's horrible.

This is a great conclusion to the trilogy, which I highly recommend to ages 10 and up. I really wish this were an ongoing series! Each girl has a strong voice and sense of self, and they acknowledge the fact that their relationships with each other are different (Eve and Sydney are friends by association, because they are both Anna's friends, but they aren't really that close) and evolving (Anna and Syd are neighbors, but Syd doesn't go to private school with Eve and Anna; they each worry about how things will be when they go to high school). Kudos to author Mariah Fredericks for continuing to deliver insightful and realistic books for kids and teens.

My favorite quotes and passages from the book include:

I will never think of my dad as a person again. I don't know what he is now. But he's not the person I decided he was when I was five years old or whatever. - Page 152

By the time I get home, the anger's burned up all my energy. I'm exhausted, empty. A strong wind could blow me anywhere. - Page 172

When I open the door and Beesley doesn't come creeping down the hall to greet me, I fight hard not to start crying again. - Page 172

Now I get it, what the cards meant. I've been living in a fantasy. Because nowhere is safe, not even your own little corner.
I miss Beesley in the worst way.
I miss everybody. - Page 185

I'm not crying. I'm not screaming. But it's not because I'm being so strong or together; it's just that I don't feel anything. Just shut off somehow. - Page 191

And now I'm in the world. Now I know the things I was scared to find out. - Page 199

"We can't live on what if. We just have to do what is." - Syd to Eve, Page 237

Related Booklists:
But I DO Want to Be Famous!
But I Don't Want to Be Famous!
Cats Cats Cats

Comments

Posted by: Rosemary (rclementmoore)
Posted at: December 1st, 2008 05:33 am (UTC)

I just met Mariah last week at the ALAN conference in San Antonio. Not only are her books very enjoyable, she's a delightful individual. I've only read FAME, but I'm definitely looking forward to the other two books in this series, as well as whatever else she writes.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 1st, 2008 05:39 am (UTC)

It's great to hear that she's swell. If you liked Fame as much as I did (which was a great deal!), you'll definitely like the other two books in the trilogy. Also pick up The True Meaning of Cleavage - that's my favorite of her YA novels.

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