Gritty, complex, snarky, self-effacing, smart, and poignant And Then Things Fall Apart will grab the reader and likely remain with the reader days and weeks after the novel is finished. Keek is stuck in her grandmother's hot attic room suffering from chicken pox and troubled by her lecherous father who couldn't keep his hands off a young waitress who worked at his restaurant. The trouble is Keek and Amanda were friends and Keek is furious and hurt that her dad and her FRIEND would have an affair right under everyone's noses. Keek's mother took the money and ran. Just when her daughter needs her the most, she is miles away both figuratively and literally. So Keek finds herself alone, lonely, and sick with no one for company other than a copy of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and an old-fashioned typewriter. After fighting with her boyfriend Matt and getting the pox, Keek had to stay at her grandmother's without any connection to the outside world. There is no Internet and she can't contact Matt. Left to her own devices, Keek ranges from hysterical to maniacal. Of course, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar is not the most uplifting of fiction! And Then Things Fall Apart is about a dysfunctional family, its sins of the past, and a dreary future. Girls who like teen angst and adolescent ennui will revel in the story. Fans of Sylvia Plath will like Keek's love of Esther Greenwood. 272 pages
Ages 14 and up
Recommended grades 9-up. Mature themes.
Reviewed by: Pamela Thompson, MLIS, Library Media Specialist, Texas, USA
Visit Pamela's ya novels blog @ http://booksbypamelathompson.blogspot.com/