Monday, October 11, 2010

Review of Tangled by Carolyn Mackler

I borrowed Tangled from my local library (after requesting they stock it) a month or so ago, and then promptly put it on my to-review list. One of the reasons I read Tangled was because it was featured on a few months ago, and they're one of my favorite review sites. The other reason I read Tangled is because it featured a 'heartbreakingly beautiful' actress with my name, and it really should be criminal to put down a book that features your namesake with a description like that.

So Tangled is from the first person perspective from five teenagers united by their mutual holiday in Paradise (the Caribbean resort). The book is split into four parts over four months, one for each character. Tangled is ultimately about how the lives of four people with the thinnest of connections can intertwine and how seemingly inconsequential interactions can affect the lives of those around you.

The book opens from the perspective of Jenna, who goes to Paradise with her mother's friend's family. She's an avid collector of quotes, and reads about lives much cooler than her own. In Paradise, she tries to live the exciting life she only finds in her books. There, instead, she has her first brush with romance, and consequently, her first brush with heartbreak.

The next section is from Dakota's perspective, who came to Paradise with his family. His on-and-off girlfriend recently died in a car crash with the boy she was seeing on the side. He hoped to forget his past in Paradise, but instead it led him to the conclusion that despite the past that haunts him, he doesn't have to be the same Dakota from that past.

Skye comes to Paradise on holiday with her mother (Jenna's mother's friend). She's an out-of-work teenage actress with an inexplicably depressive demeanor. In Paradise she finds out the truth about her father, who, contrary to what her mother told her, killed himself due to his bipolar disorder. Skye, now with comprehension of where her suicidal thoughts come from, seeks help.

The final installment of the book comes from the perspective of Owen, Dakota's younger brother. Owen's a computer-obsessed, anti-social, and generally anxious teen. His mother sends him to a program for fellow computer-obsessors. Prior to this 'camp' of sorts, he picks up contact with Jenna, who saw him blogging in Paradise.

The ending of Tangled really sums up the moral of the book: how lives intertwine and tangle as a result of forgranted actions. Owen breaks out of the camp (with the reformed, nicer Dakota's help) and his comfort zone to meet Jenna in person, in the apartment that Skye gave Jenna access to as a thank you for urging her into help.

After reading Tangled, a Prinz honor book (I said in an early review how much I love Prinz award-winning novels), I'm interested in reading Carolyn Mackler's other novels, which I hear great things about. I give Tangled a 5 out of 5.


Missy said...

Hi! Just letting you know that you've received an award over at my blog, Missy's Reads & Reviews. Congrats!

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