23 May 2011

Review: Mathilda Savitch by Victor Lodato

Mathilda Savitch by Victor Lodato book coverMathilda Savitch is the name of the main character in this Young Adult novel and I was instantly gripped by her voice and emotion. Here are the opening few sentences:

"I want to be awful. I want to do awful things and why not? Dull is dull is dull is my life. Like now, it's night, not yet time for bed but too late to be outside, and the two of them reading reading reading with their eyes moving like the lights inside a copy machine".

Mathilda's older sister was killed when she was pushed in front of a train and while her parents grieve in their own ways, they've drifted apart from each other. Mathilda is sick of it and attempts to shock them back into reality by being bad. She also tries to find out as much about her sister Helene as she can, and hopefully learn something about why she was murdered. Mathilda does find a number of hidden secrets which slowly lead her closer to the truth.

I was surprised that a male author could write the thoughts and dialogue of a teenage girl so well and I thoroughly enjoyed the voice of Mathilda. The best friend relationship she has with Anna was incredibly written, and at times it left me shaking my head with wondrous disbelief (and rushing to Google the author and confirm he was male, and yes he is: www.victorlodato.com )

At times amusing, and at times poignant, this is a coming of age story as much as it is about a family coming to terms with their grief. Although it had an ambiguous ending, it would be terrific to discuss in a book club and I thoroughly recommend Mathilda Savitch to female Young Adult / Adult readers.

My rating = ***1/2

Carpe Librum!

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