Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How to Build a House by Dana Reinhardt

This is the first of the year that I think I truly LOVE. Harper has escaped L.A. for the summer to work for a volunteer program building a house for a family in Tennessee after a tornado has wiped out the town. Her reasons for going are only slightly altruistic, however. Her father and adored stepmother have suddenly divorced and her stepsister/best friend, Tess is bitter and distant. As the summer progresses, Harper begins to work through her own feelings about family and love. She also falls for a young man and must learn to trust again, realizing that she cannot keep herself closed off from the possibility of love. The writing in this book is superb, Harper has a true voice, depth of character, and a full spectrum of emotions. I just really love this book!
Like I mentioned at the meeting, this one is geared for older teens. There is sex and drinking, but neither are gratuitous. Harper's decisions and those of her friends and family are honest, sometimes self-absorbed, and complex. Did I mention I loved this book? Yay!


Patty said...

I really liked this book. It's very realistic, with the situations and emotions that the characters have. That said, I think I'm giving it a MAYBE, because it didn't exactly knock my socks off!

Iris said...

I'm giving this one a strong maybe, because Katie is right-- this is well written, I read it in one day, I found the voices to be believable in the context of the story, the family dynamics kept me interested, and Harper was likable without being perfect.

Here are my problems with the book, and these are of course purely my opinions based on personal biases.

NO ONE I know has ever been able to have such a clean happy break-up (not really, but really!) after a summer romance. Be it love or ****-buddy, it never ends pretty with cute loving snuggles. I wanted a happy ending though, so I'm willing to let this slide.

The sex-without fear of pregnancy/STDs really ticked me off. HELLOOO, once again, girls I know freak about this stuff even if they do have the luck of being on the pill. The author seemed to have avoided even a passing reference to the issue, possibly because it ruined the mood? Someone correct me if I skidded over this information without noticing it.

Another thing.. yeah yeah, alcohol is just a fact of life blah blah, but Jack Daniels? That stuff isn't cheap and this kid doesn't have a frickin' HOUSE. I'd believe him bringing over a stash of pain pills from Mom the nurse or some cheap beer, but its hard for me to believe JD. Dad would have NOTICED that missing from the cabinet.