Marlena by Julie Buntin

marlena

Release Date: April 4, 2017

My Review:

Cat and her brother Jimmy relocate with their mother to a rural town in Northern Michigan. With her parents recent divorce she is no longer able to attend her private boarding school.  She feels very isolated living away from the support of her father and friends.  

After the move, a friendship develops between Cat and her new neighbor Marlena. Cat is fifteen, impressionable and has lived a sheltered life. Marlena is streetwise and was raised by her drug dealing father and brother. Marlena’s environment has had a negative effect leading to pill addiction and school truancy.  Cat is influenced by Marlena’s free spirit and she starts to copy her bad traits.  She experiments with drinking, smoking, and cutting school while her mother copes with her own problems. Their lives become intertwined until Marlena’s sudden death.

This is a wonderful debut novel by Julie Buntin. It is a gritty and emotional story of a deep friendship formed during adolescence. The author brings back all the overwhelming feelings developed in our teens. It is amazing that we sometimes cannot remember what we had for dinner two nights ago, but we can recall the friendships and activities from our formative years.   

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