March 5, 2011

Book Review: For Keeps by Natasha Friend

At First Sight: Josie and her single mother Kate have been a dynamic duo for all of Josie's 16 years of life. But Josie's junior year of high school is shaping up to being something else entirely. First, they run into Paul Tucci's parents at a store - which sends the otherwise capable Kate into panic, crouching behind cans of cat food trying to stay out of sight. Who is Paul Tucci? Well, he's Kate's once boyfriend and the father Josie never knew. 

The Tuccis are back in town and deep down, Josie thinks is only a matter of time before Paul shows up too. And things only get more complicated when Kate starts dating a music teacher that seems to monopolize her time, and Josie tries to decide if she should or should not start something with Matt Riggs. Much as she likes him, Josie has never been able to trust men - other than Pops and Dodd, her best friend's Liz parents, who help fill up the parental figures.

Worse, as Josie and Matt's relationship progresses as does Kate and Johnathan's, mother and daughter keep fighting over just about everything, something that feels completely alien to both of them...

Second Glance: The easiest way to describe For Keeps is as a mixture of Gilmore Girls and Marchetta's Looking for Alibrandi, yet, somehow, this story is not as good as either of those. It is a nice enough read, and for the most part is fun. I particularly liked best friend Liz and her parents and brother, who seem like such a happy family. 

But I did find both Kate and Josie tiresome at times, and the later part of the book - the big explanation for Paul Tucci's absence from Josie's life - a bit contrite. On the other hand, I did like reading about Josie and Kate together, their mother-daughter relationship ringing true most of the time.

My biggest problem with the book is that I sort of felt like it ended in nothing, which always annoys me a little. 

Bottom Line: A quick, at times funny, read, a bit average but good enough to pass the time.

Favorite Quote: "...we all have our peccadilloes, our irrational fears: the fear of falling too hard, or of not never falling at all; the fear of screwing up, or of getting screwed; the fear of being held too tight, or of not knowing when to let go."

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