Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dark Song

By Gail Giles

From the back of the book:

Marc said he heard that darkness when he creeped houses, when he stood over people while they slept. The song the predator’s heart sings when it hears the heart of the prey.

Ames is not the person she was a few months ago. Her father lost his job, and her family is crumbling apart. No more private school, cushy mansions, or best friend to hang with … now, all she has is Marc.

Marc, who loves her more than anything. Marc, who is so obsessed with his gun collection. Marc, who won’t let anyone stand in his way where Ames is concerned—especially her parents. Mom and Dad, role models of lies and self-absorption, aren’t exactly innocent … but is Ames prepared to commit the ultimate betrayal against them?

Just my opinion:

Written for young adults, this story describes what happens when family situations go horribly wrong. Here’s a father who loses his job for embezzling funds, a mother who is often emotionally distant, a spoiled teenage girl who is on the verge of rebellion and a younger daughter who is being groomed to act just like her older sister someday.

Ames is the consummate spoiled teen. She’s always been given everything she wants and expects that. Raised in an upper-class neighborhood with like-minded friends at a private school, she is so self-absorbed that she can’t understand when her father is suddenly without a job and they have to find a way to cope with no money. No, she won’t give up her cell phone or her $50 a month iTunes budget. She also still expects to have all the clothes she’s used to.

Matters only get worse when they have to sell the “extras” they have accumulated just to put food on the table and pay the bills. Plus, her mother is so angry at Ames’ father for the situation they are now in that she further distances herself from her children.

Nightly arguments soon become the norm and Ames is shocked when her father comes close to striking her for talking back.

The only solution seems to be uprooting the family and moving from Boulder, Colorado, to Texas where Ames’ grandparents – who she didn’t know existed – live. They are landlords for a series of low-income houses that are in poor condition and have agreed to let them stay in one and fix it up to pay the rent. Unfortunately, they also have a serious grudge against their son, who stole from them and disappeared with the money.

Ames meets Marc and falls head-over-heels in love. Yet, Marc has his own set of issues. He’s 23, violent and attracted to young teen girls, such as Ames, who is only 15. He worms her way into her heart and he offers her the ultimate solution to her family problems.

This is a very well-written book that could potentially open the eyes of young girls who are also on the verge of striking out against their parents, whether physically or verbally. As you read the words on these pages, you can see the results of Ames attitude and you hope you never sounded like that with your own mother or father. It’s quite a story and one both teens and parents will get something out of.

My favorite passage from the book:

Were we all born smart and then learn to be stupid? Do we lost our honesty when we lose our innocence?

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