This one is a 3.5 for me. A solid, well-written YA novel with a few areas that I wished had been less predictable and more developed.
Max and Menna, twins, live in a remote town in Alabama with their alcoholic and violent mother, and their older sister Lily. They have no idea who their father is and are pretty much left to bring themselves up from a very early age. When they are 8 years old they meet Nick, a Native American from the “reservation” next to their town, and form a close friendship with him. Max and Menna is a story of coming of age, growing up amidst and despite poverty, bigotry, violence, and racism. The story is told from both Max and Menna’s perspectives, in the past as well as present day.
I loved how the author developed the themes of friendship and love, and the main characters are very believable. I do find that the themes were a little simplified and maybe slightly stereotypical (but I’m also reading Jesmyn Ward right now who masters the art of storytelling amidst poverty and despair in the Deep South so it’s hard not to compare, and also a little unfair to compare). But all in all once I got into the story I couldn’t put it down. I do think it could have ended differently, a little less over the top tragically and a little more in a developed, credible way.
I received a copy of this novel through the author and Booktasters in return for an honest review. Thank you!