Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review: Strings Attached, by Judy Blundell

Strings Attached is a historical fiction novel about the early 1950s when we were just entering the Korean War.

To me, this novel seemed historically accurate. The New York described in the book was easy to picture, complete with dance halls, gangsters, and air-raid drills. Kat has left her home in Rhode Island to become a famous Broadway star in New York after breaking up with her boyfriend, Billy. Billy has enlisted in the army and will be going to Korea. Billy’s father, Nate, is connected to the unsavory side of society. He “gives” Kat an apartment to stay in (for her and Billy, when he comes home, of course.) He also brings her nice, fancy clothes and helps her get a great job as a dancer at the Lido Night Club. But he assures Kat, there are no strings attached. And of course, there are.

Blundell nicely uses flashbacks to explain Kat’s family history. She’s from a set of triplets whose mother died giving birth. Her father and her aunt have been struggling to keep them in food and clothing. The flashbacks also explain the history and demise of her relationship with Billy. Just when it seems Billy and Kat might be able to patch things up and have a future together, things fall apart rather quickly, mostly because of Nate’s unscrupulous behavior.

The story is well-written, and I could feel for Kat. Some of the other characters were not as well developed; this is definitely Kat’s story. There’s not much action, but the story moves at a steady pace. It is somewhat predictable, and at times I just wanted to scream at Kat for being so naive and not seeing what she was getting herself into.

My main problem with the novel is its ability to appeal to teens. Even teens who are historical fiction fans may have a problem with the slow pacing and lack of tension or suspense of this one. I enjoyed learning about this period and place, but I’m a nut about historical fiction. I think it will be a hard sell in the library.

Published by Scholastic, March 1, 2011
Copy obtained from the library
310 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. It's a little disappointing to hear this one wasn't awesome. I haven't read any Blundell yet, but I have heard only good things about her first book, What I Saw and How I Lied, so I was pretty excited for this one.

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  3. Whoops sorry. I just noticed you don't accept awards. Sorry about that. Just know you really do deserve it!

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  4. OOh, this one sounds interesting. I love historical fiction and the boyfriend's shady father sounds like he'll add an element of danger and intrigue. Definitely going on my wish list.


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