Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Review: Irises, by Francisco X. Stork

The beautiful characterizations are what makes Irises worth reading.

Kate (18) and her sister, Mary (16), have led a sheltered life in El Paso, Texas. Their father is a minister at a local church, and they have never had to make any decisions -- he has made all decisions for them. Their mother lives at home in a persistent vegetative state being kept alive by a feeding tube.

A visiting nurse comes in every day to check on things, but most of their mother's care is the responsibility of Kate and Mary. Kate has dreams of going to Stanford and becoming a doctor, and Mary is a very talented artist, but neither of them have been able to pursue their dreams since their mother's accident.

When their father dies suddenly, their world changes drastically. Suddenly they must move out of their house. They have little money and even though Kate gets a full scholarship to Stanford, where will Mary go? Who will take care of their mother?

Guiding these decisions are the girls' Aunt Julia, who comes to stay for a while and help out. Andy, the new pastor, is also involved. The minor characters contribute to the plot, but really Kate and Mary receive Stork's emphasis in this story.

They are wonderful characters, and well-written. They both change very much throughout the story, and these changes are slow, and subtle and totally believable. That's really what kept me reading. There isn't much of a plot here. The girls need to figure out what to do, and they do figure it out. It's the journey to these decisions and the growth of the characters that shines in this story.

I think this book has limited appeal to teens, but there are those that will identify with the story. Girls mostly, who enjoy stories about teens struggling to find their way and growing up as they do, will relate to this one.

Published by Arthur A. Levine, January 1, 2012
ARC obtained from the publisher for an honest review
288 pages

Rating: 3/5





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3 comments:

  1. I absolutely loved "Marcelo" so I can't wait to read this one. I just love how original and different his stories are compared to what's mainstream in YA right now. It definitely sounds like something that I would love. Can't wait to read this one next year. Great review, Annette!

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  2. While these sound like fabulous characters, I think you're right about the limited appeal for teens. My students tend to go more for romance or action, rather than introspective characters.

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  3. This is not the kind of book I would have picked up on my own. I prefer paranormal and fantasy, but your review was so well thought out. I think I would enjoy this one. Sounds like the kind of book I'd like to read with my girls when they are a little older.

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