My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lesley Kagen returns with the sequel to her national bestselling debut, Whistling in the Dark.
Whistling in the Dark captivated readers with the story of ten-year-old Sally O'Malley and her sister, Troo, during Milwaukee's summer of 1959. The novel became a New York Times bestseller and was named a Midwest Honor Award winner.
In Good Graces, it's one year later, and a heat wave has everyone in the close-knit Milwaukee neighborhood on edge. None more so than Sally O'Malley, who remains deeply traumatized by the sudden death of her daddy and her near escape from a murderer and molester the previous summer. Although outwardly she and her sister, Troo, are more secure, Sally's confidence in her own judgment and much of her faith have been whittled away. When a series of disquieting events unfold in the neighborhood-a string of home burglaries, the escape from reform school of a nemesis, and the mysterious disappearance of an orphan, crimes that may involve the increasingly rebellious Troo-Sally is called upon to rise above her inner demons. She made a deathbed promise to her daddy to keep Troo safe, a promise she can't break, even if her life depends on it. But when events reach a crisis point, will Sally have the courage and discernment to make the right choices? Or will her false assumptions lead her and those she loves into danger once again?
Lesley Kagen's gift for imbuing her child narrators with compelling authenticity shines as never before in Good Graces, a novel told with sensitivity, wit, and warmth.
My take: Unpredictable and an awful lot like a fun time. Sally is the narrator and Sally is telling the story in her 12 year old voice. She captures the time period, the tone, and the innocence so well! Absolutely loved the Point of view, each character and the way Sally describes each character. Politically incorrect language of the 1970's, it is not offensive but consistent with the way people talked.
I loved every single character and the way they presented themselves to Sally. I loved the Pollacks, Black Irish, Negroes, Mongoloids, and even the way Sally no longer believed in God, being a bad Catholic now and the way He answers her prayers.
Fun, fun read. It reminds me of the movie, Sandlot only in a different setting with the protagonist a 12 year old girl instead of a boy.
There is swearing with a few strategic "f" bombs.
Dialogue contains innuendo but fairly clean.
Violence is what you would expect on a playground.
Themes are appropriate for a teen but it is clearly written for the woman who has ever had a bad Toni perm.