Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Review: Displacement

By Thalia Chaltas
Published 2011 by Viking Juvenile

Vera has an MIA mother and a dead sister, so who can blame her for running away? But making it on her own raises more questions than she expected and soon, Vera finds herself in the middle of some complicated situations.

Apparently, I have put myself on a quest to read all the novels in verse. So, I recently checked this one off my list. Verse novels work well for me because they are pretty much guaranteed quick reads and they give me a nice break between longer novels. However, just because they are quicker reads doesn't mean they are easier - some of the best verse novels I've read deal with incredibly difficult and challenging issues. Displacement is no exception. Vera is dealing with a lot of stuff - her beloved sister has recently died, her mother is constantly searching for an escape from her problems, and Vera feels terrible about her older sister bearing the burden of these two things. So she runs away, figuring she'll make life easier for everyone that way. But running away turns out to be more complicated than she expected. Vera finds that running away doesn't actually make the problems go away, as much as she wished it did. And it can even create more problems, especially if you find yourself keeping the sort of company that Vera finds. Like I said, this book is a quick read, but Vera is a well-developed character. She starts to question herself as things get increasingly difficult and surreal. Though I find it a bit unbelievable that Vera manages to run away, find an abandoned house and a job without anyone calling the police or her sister reporting her missing, the book feels surreal enough that it could be a possibility. I do seem to unintentionally be building a retinue of books dealing with grief - perhaps it's because it's something you never get over and I'm interested in seeing how it's tackled in literature for young people. Regardless, this book is a decent read, if a bit uneven and not quite as strong as I'd hoped.

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