Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart (Egmont USA, August 24, 2010), 192 pages
In the months leading up to Philadelphia Centennial Fair of 1876, Katherine is struggling to deal with the death of her twin sister.
Beth Kephart has done it again. Although this novel is different than the others of hers I’ve read — the historical setting, for one — the writing still bears the trademark Kephart spareness and lyricism.
The responsible sister is such a familiar character to me (maybe because I am one), and yet Kephart draws Katherine in such a way as to bring into focus details we the readers may not have noticed before, perhaps even about ourselves.
I think I’ve said it before, but perhaps it’s more true with Dangerous Neighbors than with Kephart’s others: My biggest disappointment with the book is that it’s too short. So many characters we barely even meet. And while I see this book doesn’t necessarily allow for expansion in those ways, I’d love to read a sequel to this, in which we learn more about the main male in the story, William.
Despite its brevity, though, Dangerous Neighbors is never quick or flippant. It plumbs the depths of real emotion and rests there. In a more shallow vein, I did enjoy the encounter with the Centennial Fair, which brought to mind pleasant memories of other World’s Fair encounters I’ve had.
The book’s trailer (which gives you a chance to hear Kephart’s voice):
I love that the idea for this book came out of her work on Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River, which Kephart calls her autobiography of the river.
Tonight! (September 9, 2010) at 8:30 p.m. Eastern there will be a book party on Facebook for Dangerous Neighbors. And there will be prizes!
About the author
Beth Kephart is the author of 13 books. Dangerous Neighbors is her fifth young adult novel. She is the strategic planning and writing partner of a boutique communications firm in Pennsylvania.
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