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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review: Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy

Check out my stop on the Imperfect Spiral Blog Tour and see author Debbie Levy's playlist! 

Imperfect Spiral
by Debbie Levy
Pub Date: 7/16/13
Pub: Bloomsbury Walker
Format: ARC
Source: from pub
Danielle Snyder's summer job as a babysitter takes a tragic turn when Humphrey, the five-year-old boy she's watching, runs in front of oncoming traffic to chase down his football. Immediately Danielle is caught up in the machinery of tragedy: police investigations, neighborhood squabbling, and, when the driver of the car that struck Humphrey turns out to be an undocumented alien, outsiders use the accident to further a politically charged immigration debate. Wanting only to mourn Humphrey, the sweet kid she had a surprisingly strong friendship with, Danielle tries to avoid the world around her. Through a new relationship with Justin, a boy she meets at the park, she begins to work through her grief, but as details of the accident emerge, much is not as it seems. It's time for Danielle to face reality, but when the truth brings so much pain, can she find a way to do right by Humphrey's memory and forgive herself for his death?

I received an ARC of this title in exchange for my honest review

Every once in awhile a book comes along that captures me so completely and moves me in such surprising ways. A book that still hasn't left my thoughts even days or weeks after it's been read. Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy is one of those books. This isn't a perfect book (do those even exist?!), but I love it for everything it is and everything it isn't.

Fourteen year old Danielle Snyder spends the summer before high school as a babysitter for five year old Humphrey. Danielle and Humphrey make a splendid pair with their oddball personalities and out of the box thinking. And when Humphrey is tragically killed by an illegal immigrant Danielle finds herself in the middle of a battle and campaign she wants no part of; she merely wants to mourn the little boy she's come to love.

Imperfect Spiral is a beautiful and authentic story about unlikely love and friendship, family, compassion, and standing up for what you believe in. Highly relevant, rich in tangible emotion, and possessing two of the best written characters I've met in a long time, this is an utterly addicting story.

Levy weaves several heavy themes and topics throughout Imperfect Spiral- grief, guilt, tolerance, illegal/legal immigration- and she does so with such thought-provoking honesty and authenticity, and without any sense of being preached at. The topic of immigration, both illegal and legal, plays an integral role in the story, and I appreciate the way that the author explores all sides of the argument and, instead of telling readers what they should think about the topic, she merely encourages thought and further exploration. But, the heart of this story lies with Danielle and Humphrey, the profound bond they forge, and Danielle's immense grief and guilt over his death. Humphrey's death isn't a plot tool simply used to create forced emotions and Danielle's grief isn't sensationalized; these things feel incredibly real, the affects they have are believable. Levy creates such a powerful and poignant look at grief and guilt, not in an in-your-face; overwrought; Lifetime movie kind of way, but with exquisite subtlety and quietness.

What I love most about Imperfect Spiral is Danielle and Humphrey, both as individuals and as a charming pair. The genuine love and friendship between these two needs to be felt by readers in order for Danielle's grief and guilt to feel believable and real, and the love and friendship is definitely felt...I felt it with every piece of me! Danielle is the perfect mix of snarky, witty, and vulnerable, and Humphrey is the perfect mix of endearing, precocious, curious, and sweet...I'd be BFF's with Danielle and everyone needs a Humphrey in their lives. And as a pair, these two simply shine! They're both a little bit different, a little bit outcasts, a little bit perculiar (yes, I spelled that wrong for a reason...ya gotta read the book to find out why), and I've fallen completely in love with them! The bond between these two is developed so wonderfully and there are cute/silly/thoughtful moments between them that are crafted with such beauty that they literally took my breath away.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: This book introduced me to two of my newest favorite characters, left me thoughtful, and made me ugly cry...all signs of a truly great book! Danielle and Humphrey's story is an unforgettable and thought-provoking one that will move and inspire readers. A MUST read YA Contemp.



Debbie Levy
I write books—fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—for people of all different ages, and especially for young people. Before starting my writing career, I was a newspaper editor with American Lawyer Media and Legal Times; before that, I was a lawyer with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now called WilmerHale). I have a bachelor’s degree in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia, and a law degree and master’s degree in world politics from the University of Michigan. I live in Maryland with my husband, Rick Hoffman.  We have two grown sons.  Besides writing, I love to kayak, boat, and fish in the Chesapeake Bay region, swim, bowl duckpins, tramp around the woods with the dog, and watch the cat sleep. And, of course, I love to read.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This book has caught my eye a few times now. It sounds so tragic and as a mom of a 3 year old I think it'd be a great book, but it'd break my heart!