Little Willow (slayground) wrote,
Little Willow

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Not Anything by Carmen Rodrigues

In Carmen Rodrigues' debut novel, Not Anything, she introduces the character of Susie Shannon. Right from the start, Susie holds nothing back from readers, yet keeps rather quiet around her peers and her father. Within a few paragraphs, readers will know that she hasn't smiled for a yearbook picture since she was in fourth grade and has been having panic attacks since the sixth grade. Within a few chapters, they'll also know that though she's never had a boyfriend, this sophomore has other kinds of love: music (she intends to be a songwriter when she grows up), organization, English lit, her best friend Marisol, her aging grandmother, her distant father, and her mother, who died in a car accident when Susie was nine.

At school, she has to tutor Danny, a junior who is far more laid back that she. His easygoing attitude and half-smile make her nervous and frustrated - and, though she's initially loathe to admit it, interested. At home, she and her father do the dance of strangers. They live in the same house but barely speak to one another, the distance between them having grown and grown after the loss of her mom. Susie would like nothing more than to feel as though, "just maybe, he might actually have room in his life for [her]," to have a real conversation with him rather than one just in passing. As the story continues, Susie tries to summon up the courage to tell her father and Danny what's really on her mind, and to figure out who she is, with or without others.

Look for the lyrics Susie writes - if only the music played as you turned the page! - as well as a visit to Wonderland on Halloween.

Susie's stories and songs continue in A Little Something.

If you like the sound of this story, you should also check out The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson and Adios to My Old Life by Caridad Ferrer.

Read the first chapter of Not Anything.

Read my interview with the author.
Tags: books, reviews

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