Thursday, January 7, 2010
Review: Tangled by Carolyn Mackler
Rating: 4 out of 5
A one-week spring break vacation at the Caribbean resort Paradise affects the lives of four very different teenagers. Self-conscious Jena learns which guys are and are not worth it; playboy Dakota begins to realize how much of a misogynistic jerk he’s been; teen actress Skye must come to terms with her past and the fact that it may all be an act for her; and reclusive Owen may at least be ready to come out from behind his computer and meet the girl who’s changed his life.
Veteran talent reigns supreme in this intriguing blend of four short stories. Carolyn Mackler shows that she can make any story idea win over her old and new fans with TANGLED.
The four teens’ stories interlap only slightly, but remarkably each one is well defined and strong reads in and of themselves. Jena, Dakota, Skye, and Owen are all flawed, yet their flaws are endearing and human instead of the consequences of shoddy writing. As a result, we are easily able to delve into the minds of these four.
I was surprised at, but not put off by, how little the four stories were actually interconnected. The first three stories end rather abruptly and incompletely, and it’s not until reading the final story (Owen’s) that we realize how these four characters are supposed to have been affected by one another. The “tangles” are tentative at best, but overall TANGLED is still appealing due to its masterful writing.
Longtime Carolyn Mackler fans like me should not hesitate to pick this one up, while those new to Mackler’s works will be able to appreciate her talent. TANGLED is good for a sweet and lighthearted read.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Cover discussion: 4.5 out of 5 - I love it! (And really, is this the first time Ms. Mackler has gotten a really, really good cover?) It's so different from other covers out there, and I just love the strength of the colors and the way they bleed into one another.
HarperTeen / Dec. 29, 2009 / Hardcover / $16.99
Received from review from the HarperCollins booth at NCTE.