I was so excited to hear Susan Messiner was releasing another book this year. I so loved The Shape of Mercy, in fact it was my pick as favorite book for '08. White Picket Fences is a very thought provoking book. I really liked it and yet struggled with some of the characters. It was hard to warm up to the main character and I am sure Susan wrote them that way. Which does make for a good and interesting read.
Tally needs a place to live. Her Grandmother just passed away and her dad is somewhere in Europe. When social services calls her aunt, Tally isn't sure what she is getting into. On the outside the Javnviers look perfect. Mom, Dad and the 2.5 kids every family needs. A nice home and everyone seems happy and very content, that is until you start living with them. Then you start to see the cracks.
Tally and her cousin Chase are able to bond over a project they are doing for school. They meet two Holocaust survivors and learn their story. While talking to them the teens realize that they themselves need help with their own stories. Not everything is as it seems.
I really liked this book, as soon as I read it. But, it has taken some talking with others to make me really appreciate some of the stories behind it all. It is one of those books that begs to be discussed. Susan had that great gift of writing books that make you think about things. She won me as a loyal reader with the first one of hers I read, Why the Sky is Blue. It is out of print, but if you can find it, read it. It makes you think about things you believe about rape and abortion.
Anyways back to this book, I am sure that book clubs would find this book very interesting, especially if there are several different generations in their book club. I found that everyone I talked to had something very different to say about the story. No one really agreed on why they liked the story and even the couple I found that didn't like it seemed to like the story itself and had more problem with the characters.
If you haven't read any of Susan's books this is a good place to start, if you have read her, this may quickly become one of you favorites.