The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finneyfrock
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published: Feb. 21st, 2013 by Viking Children's
Source: ALAMW 2013
That’s the day the trouble started.
The trouble that nearly ruined my life.
The trouble that turned me Dark.
The trouble that begs me for revenge.
Celia Door enters her freshman year of high school with giant boots, dark eyeliner, and a thirst for revenge against Sandy Firestone, the girl who did something unspeakable to Celia last year.
But then Celia meets Drake, the cool new kid from New York City who entrusts her with his deepest, darkest secret. When Celia’s quest for justice threatens her relationship with Drake, she’s forced to decide which is sweeter: revenge or friendship.
This debut novel from Karen Finneyfrock establishes her as a bright, bold, razor-sharp new voice for teens.
This review was first posted at Candace's Book Blog.
I know Mel reviewed this last week, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to share my own thoughts.
I have to apologize because I finished this book several days ago and then read another contemporary book. So I think the impact it left on me has faded a bit and my true emotions may not show as strongly as they may have if I had reviewed immediately after finishing the book.
This book did impact me fairly strongly and I think that's because it's about bullying (largely). Through the book we know that something happened to Celia the previous year that devastated her enough to become 'Celia the dark' and she is planning to exact revenge upon the person who did this thing to her. We do not know what happened until later, so it's a bit of a build up, wondering what this thing was. In this time we get to know Celia and see other things in her life that aren't so great. Her parents split up and her father moved far away, Celia's mother works long hours and isn't terribly involved in her life, and her best friend was pulled from her life which left her very much alone. All this is enough to 'turn dark' but this other thing was what pushed Celia over the edge. Now turning dark is pretty much what it sounds like. She dresses in black, wears big boots and dark eyeliner, etc. She doesn't have any friends until she gets to know Drake. Drake is a very interesting character with a very big secret he entrusts to Celia. But when his own heart is broken he kind of goes nuts himself. At times he's very focused on himself and you can tell that he's not acknowledging Celia's issues (though she never talks about them either) even though it's obvious she has stuff going on. But Drake isn't a bad guy, and we see him come full loop and be the real friend she wants and needs. But he is distracting her from her revenge plan, which is not at all going as planned.
Celia is a freshman in high school and this was a very realistic portrayal and voice of a freshman girl. It really was spot on. Celia also has a touch of snark, especially her inner voice. This brings to the book more light moments where you can't help but laugh out loud. This adds to this story that is pretty serious for the most part, and really lightens it up.
I have read that some said they felt disappointed when discovering what happened to Celia and that they felt like she overreacted. I didn't feel this way at all, it actually was a pretty devastating thing for a girl to go through all alone. But something I think that is very important to point out is that everyone is different. They handle things different. There may be a teen girl who's mother has brain cancer, her father is an alcoholic and she has 15 brothers and sisters to raise on her own but she wakes up each day with a smile on her face and happy to be alive while anyone else would be at their wits end and ready to walk out that door (true story example). There are teens that have no major issues in their life that we can see, their parents are (mostly) happily married, they have a car to drive, friends to hang out with and no major issues, yet they can't hardly haul their butt out of bed each day because they hate themselves and their life so much. We all handle things differently and it's not fair to say anyone is overreacting to anything, but especially a case of being bullied. If they feel hurt, they have that right to feel hurt. And I like that the author made this something so realistic. This stuff happens every. single. day.
I was very satisfied with how things played out in this book. It was hard to put down and I was very eager to find out more and see where things would go because I really had no idea. I think the writing was fantastic and characterization was spot on. While there are some instances of cursing other than that this is a clean read and perfect for those entering high school or in high school.
Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.