Dangerous Neighbors

Beth Kephart, Egmont USA, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-60684-080-1
Set in Philadelphia against the backdrop of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition (the first World's Fair in the U.S.), this atmospheric novel traces the sentiments of grief-stricken Katherine, whose identical twin sister, Anna, died in a tragic accident earlier in the year. As the novel opens, Katherine, who feels responsible for Anna's death, has decided to take her own life. Again and again, she is drawn to the exhibition grounds. Here, futuristic marvels and unexpected events—including a disastrous fire—detain her from completing her suicidal mission. Losing herself in a throng of strangers, she re- examines her past, recalling the development of her sister's secret romance with a "dangerous neighbor" and the final sequence of events that led to Anna's death. Conjuring sharp, meticulously detailed images of fair exhibitions ("The wonders of the world slide past. Parisian corsets cavorting on their pedestals. Vases on lacquered shelves. Folding beds. Walls of cutlery. The sweetest assortment of sugar-colored pills, all set to sail on a yacht"), Kephart (The Heart Is Not a Size) evokes a tantalizing portrait of love, remorse, and redemption. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/09/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
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