Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Narvla's Celtic New Year by Therese Gilardi

genre: contemporary young adult

Narvla's in love with all things Celtic - she's an Irish Step Dancer, she wants to write Irish-themed literature and the only school she wants to go to is Notre Dame.  So, when her mom gets a job as the Irish Ambassador, she is thrilled to move to Ireland.  Things aren't always as easy as you hope, though, earning a spot on a new dance team is tough, school is tougher and the beautiful Irish singer-boy on the street corner is less than pleasant to her.  When there is betrayal at home, Narvla has to work even harder to find happiness in this new country, it's going to take some of that serious Irish luck to make this year turn around.

I have a hard time writing reviews of books I don't like.  I know that authors are out there, real people, and I don't ever want to hurt anyone's feelings. However, this one didn't do it for me.  I want to note what I did like: being in Ireland with Narvla, I have always wanted to go there.  I liked a secondary character that clearly had an autism-spectrum disability and that was treated with care.  I wanted it to be more about step dancing - which she is supposedly so good at that she's winning huge championships but the details just didn't ring true - it's not just wigs and rhythm and drama between the dancers.  The best-friend character and love-interest character swung widely around, too perfect sometimes then (especially in the love-interest case), too snarky.  There are actual factual errors, dialogue that's way too formal and intense, a few strange grammatical choices and sometimes just errors - like people are walking somewhere and then in the next paragraph they are somewhere else.   People are too talented and good to be true.  I think probably with a better editor this story could be tightened up and made more fun to read - because I did like it enough to keep reading until the end, I just found it frustrating.

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