Friday, July 9, 2010

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend - Emily Horne

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horne
16 yr old Cass's best friend Julia died in a car accident. In secret, Julia was writing a musical, A Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad. When Julia's drama friends find the first and only draft, they decide to put on the musical in her honor. Cass is not a drama member, with Julia gone, she feels out of place with the drama kids.

It doesn't help that there's tension between Cass and Oliver. Oliver, (a drama person) was Julia's boyfriend. Cass is unsure of her sexuality but everyone at school has already labeled her a lesbian. The only thing Cass knows for sure, she had feelings for Julia. She never acted on them but Oliver was not okay with that.

While Julia's drama friends and Cass were working on the musical, Oliver said something that shouldn't have been said to Cass. She decided right then to get away for awhile. Cass and Julia were suppose to drive to California during the summer break. Cass decides to continue on the trip alone riding her bike.

The novel alternates between now and then. In the now, Cass is back home, working on Julia's musical again. She is forced to spend time with Heather, the mean girl from middle school. Heather got the lead in the musical. In the 6th grade she whispered and laughed behind Cass's back and called Cass a dyke to her face. Very slowly and carefully Cass and Heather begin to understand and open up to each other.

In the then, Cass recalls her cross country bicycle trip. The then reminded me a lot of Shift
by Bradbury, which I loved. Horne is able to get across Cass's inner struggles.

I read this story in one sitting. There's much to love about it, including the alternating story lines. Cass is a well drawn and believable character. When Cass and Heather are alone for the first time in years there is much tension. The author doesn't waste the readers time with an I am sorry from Heather. Since both the bullied and the bully know that's not enough. Instead Heather shares her secrets, and proves she's a different person with her actions.
Horne doesn't shy away from religion. Cass and her parents are Quakers. Cass's parents have strong beliefs and always give their support. Cass never worried about being disowned by them if she happened to like girls.

Horner's debut is a beautiful, orignal and a must read. I am usually unimpressed by author blurbs. Though every once in awhile I will see one that will make me stop and take notice. I came across A Love Story when I was working in the YA section. I took it home that day because of the blurb by author Steve Kluger. 1 - I loved his novel My Most Excellent Year:
2- Kluger doesn't blurb like its going out of style.


Anonymous said...

I LOOOOOOVED this one. One of my favorites of the year so far.

evelyn.n.alfred said...

I'm way off-topic, but I looked at your bookshelf and you have Finding My Place. Have you read it? I saw it in the store recently.

Doret said...

Laura - This is a great one. And it will be making one of my best of list at the end of the year

Evelyn- I haven't reading Finding My Place yet, but I will soon and I am really looking forward to it. I loved her YA debut, Standing Against the Wind.

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