Can I just say how happy I am to have discovered Ms. Kagen and her books? I absolutely loved Tomorrow River and have to give it an A-.
During the summer of 1968, Shenandoah Carmody's mother disappeared. Her twin sister, Woody, stopped speaking, and her once-loving father slipped into a mean drunkenness unbefitting a superior court judge. Since then, Shenny-named for the Shenandoah valley-has struggled to hold her world together, taking care of herself and her sister the best she can. Shenny feels certain that Woody knows something about the night their mother vanished, but her attempts to communicate with her mute twin leave her as confused as their father's efforts to confine the girls to the family's renowned virginia estate. As the first anniversary of their mother's disappearance nears, her father's threat to send Woody away and his hints at an impending remarriage spur a desperate Shenny to find her mother before it's too late. She is ultimately swept up in a series of heartbreaking events that force her to come to terms with the painful truth about herself and her family. Told with the wisdom, sensitivity, and humor for which Lesley Kagen has become known, Tomorrow River is a stellar hardcover debut.
My heart was pounding at times while reading this, I have to admit. The suspense of what was going to happen to Woody and Shenny made me hold my breath and hope for the best, while knowing that it very well may not turn out well. Shenny is a great character, a girl I would love to know, with a spitfire attitude who cares so deeply for her sister. I loved the setting and Ms. Kagen does an excellent job allowing me to imagine myself right there along with them, running and hiding and playing detective. The only thing that held me back from giving it an A was the ending, something I thought I was a bit unbelieveable. I have the only other book I haven't read by Ms. Kagen on hold and I hope it comes in soon. Pick up one of her books... the sooner the better!