Friday, February 26, 2010

#BookReview: What's Done in Darkness - Shaun L. Green

"Jacqueline Moore noticed that she was rocking again... 'Sit still,' she said. 'You're not crazy.'"

Dealing with teen girls is never an easy job and when her daughter becomes more secretive, Jacqueline, or Jay as she prefers to be called is sure she's in some kind of trouble. Combined with her daughter's strange behavior and a strong sense in her gut that has never steered her wrong, Jay is determined to find out what's going on with Siva. Before she can do that, she has to move a few distractions out of her way.

The proud owner of a new boutique, Jay is constantly worried about sales and promoting the store. When she's not worried about the boutique, she's working on her relationship with her current husband Terrence and dealing with her annoying ex-husband, Marcus.

While Jay believes that her relationship with her daughter has always been good, it becomes very tense when she receives a call from her ex-husband asking why their daughter has been skipping school. Forced to address the situation Jay begins snooping through Siva's trying to find answers. When she stumbles across her diary, she knows she shouldn't read it, but fearing that her daughter might be in trouble, she does. Reading it makes her realize that her daughter is no longer the virgin that she thought she was and that she is about to become a grandmother.

Siva is adamant about keeping her baby. Upset that her mother has once again gotten in her way, she's determined to win this time. While her mother believes that her former boyfriend, Jason, is the father, she knows that's not the case. When she's confronted by an angry girl at school claiming that she slept with her boyfriend, star athlete Cameron, Siva has to wonder if there's any truth to it. All she knows is it doesn't matter who fathered her child, she's going to raise it, even if she has to do it all alone.

Back in Jay's world, she's still too busy with the boutique to address the situation, but is forced to talk with Siva's school counselor when Marcus won't drop the subject. To her surprise, she finds that Siva didn't just miss a few days this week when she was home sick, but has missed several days over the last few months and is in jeopardy of not graduating. Even more surprising is the fact that she has written excuses for her absences and they've all been signed by Terrence. When the school can't locate Siva and Terrence won't answer his phone, Jay rushes home to find them in the middle of an angry confrontation that confirms what she's suspected since she left the school.

As an outsider looking in, I can see so many red flags that Jay ignored. Giving her daughter material things to make up for the lack of time spent with her is a common mistake that a lot of parents make these days. In Jay's case, the end result was a daughter that resented and disrespected her at every turn.

What did you like about this book?
As the mother of a teen, this book is very believable and relatable. I think it's written in such a way that both adults and young adults can appreciate it.

What did you dislike about this book?
There were some characters that I thought were unnecessary and didn't add much to the storyline.

How can the author improve this book?
There are some phrases used that date the book. For example, "That's what's up." While it was a popular phrase a few years ago, unless you're writing a period-specific story, you should stay away from anything that can date your story or characters. In addition, the phrase was used by adults often and catch phrases tend to be more of a teen/young adult thing.

256 pp
Published October 2008

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