Monday, April 21, 2014

Review ~ We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

We Are the Goldens
by Dana Reinhardt

Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary
Expected publication: May 27th 2014

Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.

4 out of 5 stars

Told from Nell’s point of view, We Are the Goldens takes the reader on an emotional journey about a sisterly bond and a secret that threatens to destroy it.  Nell and Layla have always been close, matter of fact, Nell believes that their lives are intertwined.    Nell was so excited when she became a freshman at City Day because she would see more of her sister who was a junior.  She longs to follow in her sisters footsteps and share more of her life with her big sister.  Sadly, she was disappointed especially after she finds out that Layla has a really BIG secret that could possible impact the rest of her life.  Nell is torn on whether to let the secret out because once it is out, she fears she will forever lose Layla’s trust and friendship.

I really liked Nell.  Even with all the high school drama that was happening around her, she never lost focus on her sister.  Layla on the other hand just appeared to be self-centered and acted like a B-word most of the time.  I also really liked Nell’s best friend Felix who was there for her all the time.  

This was really a well-written story that had me engrossed the entire time.  I really had to find out what this HUGE secret was that was looming in the background.  The characters are well-developed and I could really connect with them.  I was disappointed in the ending because it just left me hanging.  It would have been nice to know the outcome of the family meeting and Nell and Layla’s bond afterword. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, especially the 15 and over age group.

(Note: The following is from Amazon's website)

Why don't you have a bio section?
Because I hate writing about myself.

But wouldn't that be easier than answering a whole bunch of FAQs?

Maybe. Probably. Go on... 

So where are you from?

I'm from Los Angeles, but now I live in San Francisco. Except for the summers where I go back to Los Angeles in search of the sun. 

What are you doing when you aren't writing?

Laundry, usually. Sometimes dishes. And I really like to walk near the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Why don't you run instead of walk?

Running is hard. And I'm sort of lazy. 

Have you ever had a real job?

Yes. Of course I have. I've waited tables, worked with adolescents in foster care, read the slush pile at a publishing house, and fact checked for a movie magazine. I also worked for FRONTLINE on PBS and Peter Jennings at ABC. I went to law school, which I know doesn't count as a job, but hey, that was a lot of work. 

What's your writing day like? Do you stick to a routine?

I like to write in the mornings. Sometimes that means I have to get up really early. I try to write 700 words a day -- about three pages. I know there are lots of writers out there who can write way more than that. I know this because writers like to tell you about how many words they've written on FACEBOOK. So I try not to look at FACEBOOK when I'm writing. And anyway, I've learned that 700 words are about all I'm good for on any given day, and if I write more than that I usually end up getting rid of most of it later. 

What, are you lazy or something?

I already told you I'm lazy. But seriously, 700 words are a lot of words. 700 of them, to be precise. 

Where do you get your ideas?

From someplace inside my head. 

That's not really an answer.

Yes, it is. And it's as honest an answer as I can give. 

Are your books autobiographical?

Not really. I'm not adopted, I've never told a lie that sent someone to jail, I've never built a house or had a brother go to war. But there are always things in my books that come from my life or from the lives of the people around me. It would be impossible to make up everything. 

Why do you write young adult fiction?

Because I was a young adult when I fell in love with reading and I can remember how books made me feel back then. How they provided both comfort and escape. That might make me sound like a shut-in, but I wasn't. I was just open to the experience books offered, probably more open than I am now as an adult. And I like writing for that sort of audience. 

What exactly is young adult fiction?

Lots of people have thought long and hard about this question and have had many intelligent things to say about voice and how YA books can't spend too much time on adult characters, etc. I don't have anything to add to the debate except to say that YA should be a place to go in the bookstore or library if you are looking for a coming of age story, no matter how old you are. 

Do you have a favorite book?


Don't be coy, what is it?

To Kill a Mockingbird. 

How come there aren't any vampires or wizards in your books?

Hmmmm... good question. Maybe I should write about vampires and wizards. 

No, you shouldn't. You wouldn't be very good at that.

Thanks for the vote of confidence. 

Did you wear a Soupy Sales sweatshirt when you were seven?

Does anybody even know who Soupy Sales is? 

That's what the Internet is for. Don't avoid the question.

I'm sorry, is this really a Frequently Asked Question? 

No. But, c'mon, tell us anyway.

Yes, I did. But I'm trying to portray myself as someone who wasn't a total loser. So maybe you shouldn't bring that up. And it also makes me sound ancient, which I'm not. Yet I had a Soupy Sales sweatshirt. And I loved it. It was yellow. And really soft. 

You're right. It does make you sound like a loser. Especially when combined with your earlier answer about escaping into books.

Well, if it helps, I was also a really good athlete. In fact, I was voted athlete of the year in 1983. Not nationally or anything. Just at my school. 

No, that's not really helping.

Well, I also played the electric bass. 

Now you're talking. That's cool. Were you in a band or anything?

No. I gave it up after a few months. But I did play it once in public dressed up in a chicken costume. 

Okay. I think we might be done here.

You sure? Isn't there anything else you want to know about me? 

If I think of anything I can just email you my questions, right?

Right. You can always send me an email to:

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