Thursday, July 10, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: Edna in the Desert

Edna in the Desert by Maddy Lederman, September 9, 2013. 167 pages. Published by eLectio Publishing. Source: Author.
Edna is a precocious troublemaker wreaking havoc at her Beverly Hills school. Her therapist advocates medication, but her parents come up with an alternative cure: Edna will spend the summer in the desert with her grandparents. Their remote cabin is cut off from cell phone service, Internet and television. Edna’s determined to rebel until she meets an older local boy and falls in love for the first time. How can she get to know him from the edge of nowhere?
First Sentence:
The sun baked Edna's forehead and brought her slight queasiness to a more threatening nausea. 

After having read Edna in the Desert I am left with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I enjoyed the author's writing; on the other I could not stand Edna and felt that she made little progress and learned absolutely nothing during her time in the desert.

How I wanted to like Edna and this book more than I did. From the moment the book started, I knew that there was going to be a problem for me when it came to Edna. I just cannot fathom someone her age, that of thirteen, acting as horribly as she did and getting away with it for so long.
    It is quite easy to see why her parents, mainly her father, decided to that something drastic needed to be done-thus her 'exile' to the desert ton spend the summer with her grandparents. Manipulative and too much leeway, that was two of the problems that Edna seemed to have, that and her lack of something... I probably would have found myself liking this one more if Edna had actually seemed to learn that she could not always have what she wants. By the time I finished the book, I felt that she had progressed little if any from where she started out in the beginning. To me, she way still bending things her way a little too much.

Alright, so, if I disliked Edna and her lack of growth why did I continue reading on. Well, that's easy, I enjoyed Ms. Lederman's writing and the grandparents. If the writing had been less favorable I probably would have walked away from this book after thirty pages. But the author's writing kept pulling me back in as I wanted to know more about the grandparents and why they were out there in the desert, as well, as if Edna would undergo some much needed character growth.
   While I may not have been happy with the direction the book took when it came to Edna and the inappropriate feelings shared between her and a certain older boy, I enjoyed watching her slowly connect with her grandparents and how she brought some much needed life into their world. I guess you could say the relationship that slowly builds between her and her grandmother is my silver lining in this book. I loved how tough as nails her grandmother was and how she was only try to help her; as well as learning more about her grandfather and how she helped to raise both of their spirits.

In the end, what I found myself enjoying most about this book was the writing. Every time I considered giving up on Edna, I was pulled back in by the author's ability to capture the beauty of the desert landscape and the blossoming relationship between Edna and her father's parents. Their story was definitely one of give and take, and I loved that as the book went on you learned more about his parents and how they slowly came alive.

What I found myself not liking would be Edna herself. I was quite disappointed in the lack of growth her characters underwent. While I was not expecting a miracle transformation, that would be asking too much, I was hoping that there would be a bigger difference in her than there was. I, sadly, could find very little to actually like about her because she was just so self absorbed and not nice.

Final Verdict: Edna in the Desert- Good writing, interesting side characters...yet not exactly what I was expecting or hoping for.

Edna in the Desert earns

This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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