Dreamland Social Club

Tara Altebrando, Author
Tara Altebrando. Dutton, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-525-42325-6
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-101-51505-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4618-1301-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4618-4579-9
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When Jane and her brother inherit the house in Coney Island where their late mother grew up, they move in with their father, planning to stay one year to prepare the house for sale. Sixteen-year-old Jane has lived everywhere from London to Tokyo, but amid Coney Island's rundown attractions and checkered history, she hopes to find clues about the mother she desperately misses. Palpable without being melodramatic, Jane's longing is well-wrought, as is the supporting cast of teenage dwarves, giants, and other Brooklyn natives, including a love interest for Jane. The mysteries Altebrando (What Happens Here) weaves into her story (what is the Dreamland Social Club? what iconic Coney sites do the keys Jane finds unlock? why is the carousel horse chained to a radiator in their living room so important?) will keep readers engaged, though not much really happens. Rather, this is a languid, introspective novel about a search for identity and meaning; against the backdrop of impending gentrification and development, both Jane and Coney Island itself are caught between the pull of the past and the uncertainty of the future. Ages 14–up. (May)
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