Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart

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.

Other books by Kephart:
Nothing but Ghosts
The Heart Is Not a Size
House of Dance

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.

Other reviews
A Patchwork of Books
Life in the Thumb
Books, Movies & Chinese Food
The 3 R’s Blog

My Friend Amy’s interview with Kephart

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.


18 responses to “Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart

  1. Isn’t it great when a book leaves you wanting more?! Since everyone seems to think this is too short, maybe Kephart will write a sequel.

  2. Thank you so much for coming to the party and for this kind review today! It’s funny with my books. This one was three times the size it is now. I kept paring it, ultimately, to that it would stay within the themes, the emotional arc, that felt most urgent and pressing to me. I don’t mean for the books to be short, in other words. It’s just that I want every page to count, and if it isn’t working toward what I believe the book essentially is, I pull back.

    Still so much to learn. But you’ll be happy to know, perhaps, that the two books I’m working on now are 25% longer than this one.

    (little by little)

  3. Beautiful cover! I’ve found quite a few books too short recently but sometimes it can give you more to think about. I like the sound of the setting, and the summary is intriguingly basic!

    • Yes, the cover is gorgeous! And really, I’d rather have a book be too short than too long.

      As to the summary, well. I’m quite careful to write very brief ones, and I truly avoid spoilers like the plague.

  4. I always end up wishing Beth’s books were longer. Great review, I’m looking forward to this one.

  5. Ths book was new to me so thank you so much for this post as well as the links to other reviews!

  6. I really enjoyed this one, too, but also couldn’t help but feel as though it ended too soon. You mentioned the sparseness of her language — the carefully chosen words — and I adored that about her writing, but I just craved… more! Perhaps a sequel?

  7. One of these days I’ll read Kephart. I just love the cover!

  8. This sounds really good. I am going to have to get to it at some point and time! It is always hard to say which Kephart my library will decide to buy, but hopefully they get this one!

  9. Pingback: Recommend some YA for me! « Word Lily

  10. Pingback: Book Review: Dangerous Neighbors « ReviewsbyLola's Blog

  11. Pingback: Best reads 2010 | Word Lily

  12. Ok well I am doing a book report and I need to different settings from Dangerous Neighbors and it has to have the exact passage from the book and the page number..!

What do you think? I'd love to know.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s