Upstate

I may have waited too long to write coherently about this book, but I needed time to digest it and let it percolate in my soul.

Antonio, 17 years old, has been arrested for murdering his father when the book opens.  Over the next ten years he corresponds with his girlfriend Natasha, and their stories unfold through the letters.

I went through a roller coaster of emotion and attachment to Natasha and Antonio.  I had this sinking feeling when the book began that there would be not only an unhappy ending, but a tragic one.  When Antonio accepts a plea bargain that puts him in prison for manslaughter I hated Natasha’s reaction.  Her letters seemed to be about her – an unexpected opportunity for a trip to Paris, a pregnant friend, fights with her step-father and it frustrated me because I felt for Antonio trying to cope with the very frightening and soul killing future of prison.  And I sort of hated that reaction to Natasha.  I wanted to give her a break.  I had the perspective of an adult viewing their  relationship as young love, certain to burn out and now even more so. So I knew it wasn’t the fairest reaction.  But I got over it.

I don’t want to say much more about the plot because it would give away the outcome, and this book ended up surprising me.  I became aware about two-thirds through that the ending would only be sad, not tragic.  And that there was more to the back-story than originally presented.

As a mentioned in an earlier post voice is very important to me and I thought the voices here were truly authentic, which is what led me to empathy with both characters, why I cared about them.

When I finished I heaved a sigh and floated around the house ruminating on it.  Kalisha Buchanan did a very fine job.

And I am proud of myself for sticking pretty close to the summer reading list, plus some.

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