Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: Dark Water by Laura McNeal


DARK WATER is one of two novels I’m reading and judging (along with Bart’s Bookshelf) as part of Nerds Heart YA.

Pearl never really took note of the migrants that worked her uncle’s avocado farm – until she meets the (mostly) mute Amiel.  Amiel fascinates her, but is warning him of the coming fires worth putting her own life at risk?

First off, I have to say that I really enjoyed McNeal’s use of language.  Here’s a snippet of Pearl reacting to seeing Amiel:

For a second I couldn't move or breathe. What is it about a person that makes him harmless to others and fatal to you, like a bee sting or a trace of peanut butter?” p 48

Though the crux of the plot relies on Pearl’s growing interest in Amiel, DARK WATER is much more than a romance.  It explores shifting family dynamics, the consequences of misunderstandings and the evolution of friendship – all against the backdrop of an area of Southern California plagued by deadly wildfires.

The scenes in the novel seemed very realistic – that is until the end. Pearl makes some spectacularly bad decisions and I didn’t think the story up to then supported her motivations for making them.

DARK WATER, a National Book Award finalist, is available now.  Find out more about it at the author’s website.  





8 comments:

Kailana said...

That cover is very mood-setting...

Cara said...

Wow. I hadn't heard of this previously, but now I have to read it. Thanks for the great review! :)

bermudaonion said...

Well, now I'm curious about Pearl's decisions.

Allison said...

I got a copy of this recently, and you're review has me even more intrigued. I love the quote you included too, definitely gonna push this up the TBR!

Zibilee said...

Sounds like this one stretched credibility towards the end. Thanks for being so candid about your reactions to it.

aLmYbNeNr said...

This book sounds really interesting. I've never heard of it before your post. Is it mostly focusing on the attraction and the muteness of Amiel? Or does it really focus on the plight of migrant workers at all? I saw something about migrant workers on Dateline recently and if this book helps people understand their hardships at all, then I'd love to read it and share it.

Shallee said...

I haven't heard of this before, but it sounds intriguing. I love that snippet-- what a beautiful use of language and voice. Thanks for the honest review!

Pam @iwriteinbooks said...

Ah, I think one of my least favorite things in a book is when it has me screaming at the characters for their missteps. Though, all around, this doesn't look so bad. ;O)