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Little Willow
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Feathered by Laura Kasischke

Laura Kasischke's novel Feathered tells the story of two best friends who travel to Cancun for Spring Break. After an auspicious start, the unexpected happens, and their dream vacation turns into a nightmare which they can't simply escape by waking - which, perhaps, they cannot escape at all.

Feathered wonderfully captures that feeling of freedom one gets while far from home, when it's possible (easier?) to be uncharacteristically impulsive. Fueled by the toxic intensity of perfect strangers, fast friends, and foreign cultures, the girls find themselves in an extremely dangerous situation, and, in the blink of an eye, everything changes.

Every high school student who is planning a big-deal trip for Spring Break (or for any break) needs to read this book - and so do their parents, teachers, and chaperones. Lest you think Feathered a run-of-the-mill cautionary tale, it's not. This book does not promote anxiety or xenophobia, but simple, basic caution. I hope - rather, I know that at least one person is going to walk away from this book with a cautious nature and later save herself or himself from getting into a bad situation. Trust your instincts. Trust your gut. When that little voice (or that loud siren) in your head goes off, listen to it.

Feathered is told in alternating points of view, with Anne telling her story in 1st person past tense in one chapter, then Michelle's story is described 3rd person present tense the next. Each voice is very distinct. Kasischke's lyrical writing shines, especially in Michelle's chapters.

Feathered is on my list of Best Books of 2008 (So Far).

Favorite Passage

She wants to stay here. Maybe not forever, but longer.

Backstory

Last fall, I got a copy of Feathered from the book fairy. (Thanks, book fairy!) I began to read it right then and did not want to put it down, but I had to get back to work.

A little while later, my co-worker asked me what book I was reading, so I started telling her about the story. The next day, after completing the book, I told the same co-worker how much I had enjoyed it. She read a little piece and I read another piece out loud. She was so taken by the sound of it that she asked me to sit down and tell her all about it, from start to finish, even the ending.

Further Reading

Pick up What Happens Here by Tara Altebrando in May 2008 to see why I recommend it alongside Feathered.

Feathered is Kasischke's second novel for young adults, following 2006's Boy Heaven. Do not judge this book (or any book) based on its title. As with Feathered, throw your assumptions out of the window. As with Feathered, what you read (what you see, what you hear) will haunt you. Though the plots of the two books are vastly different, they both offer tension and twists that will keep people reading.

I've posted about Boy Heaven twice: once to review it and once as part of Colleen's monthly round-up of Wicked Cool Overlooked Books.

I also posted one of her poems for Poetry Friday.

Thanks to the same book fairy to referred to earlier, I recently Kasischke's adult novel The Life Before Her Eyes. I plan on reviewing it later this month.
Tags: books, cybils, reviews
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