Thursday, March 19, 2015

Like Manadrin by Kirsten Hubbard

Grace Carpenter is the ultimate "Good Girl," but she has secretly idolized the wild, free-spirited Mandarin Ramsey since she was 6 years old.  Now at 14, Grace is paired with Mandarin, 17, for a school assignment. Grace is thrilled with this arrangement. Mandarin adopts Grace and brings the younger girl into her exciting world of secret parties, skinny-dipping, and plans to someday run away to California. At first, Grace is thrilled. But then she begins to see a dark and destructive side to her new friend. Mandarin seems like she's on a one-way collision course with a tragic ending. And it no one can save her. Not even Grace.

Kirsten Hubbard's Like Mandarin reminded me a lot of John Green's books. Particularly Looking for Alaska, where a previously sheltered teen is charmed by a wild classmate and drawn into her world--only to have things end badly. The character of Mandarin reminded me a lot of Alaska. Both girls are from broken homes, both had a tragic childhood, and both are spontaneous, bad-girl types destined for an unhappy ending.

Like Mandarin was fantastic! Like with Green's books, characters, setting, and plot are exquisitely detailed. You, the reader, will be instantly drawn into the story and will experience every emotion right along with the characters. I absolutely recommend this one!

Like Mandarin is currently located on our New Book shelf. For similar books, try Wanderlove, also by Kirsten Hubbard and The Disenchantments, by Nina LaCour. --AJB

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