Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: For Keeps
Author: Natasha Friend
Release Date: April 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: YA Fiction
Publisher’s Age/Grade Recommendation: 12 and up
OUAR’s Age/Grade Recommendation: 12 and up
Year/Setting: Present Day Elmhurst, Massachusetts
Overall Rating: 4.25
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: None
Natasha's Website/Blog: www.natashafriend.com
Sixteen-year-old Josie Gardner and her mom, Kate, have been the unstoppable duo. Kate was abandoned by Josie’s dad (Paul Tucci) while pregnant. She tried to contact him when his family moved away but he ignored her, hooked up with a new girl in his new town and never looked back at his ex-girlfriend and his baby. Kate has done an exceptional job of raising Josie alone. But when they happen to run into Paul’s parents at the local Shop-Co, Josie begins to realize that some things may never be the same again.
Josie’s best friend, Olivia, finds out that Paul’s parents have moved back to the area. There are going to be a lot more Tucci sightings. Each time Kate sees one of the Tucci’s; it sends her into a funk. Josie doesn’t tell her mother that Paul’s father is a regular at the ice cream shop where she works. Kate is finally dating again and seems really happy. While it’s hard for Josie to share her mother after all these years, it is also good to see her so happy.
Will Josie ever get to ‘officially’ meet her father and grandparents or will she live a parallel life forever? Will Kate and her new beau find the happily ever after that alluded Kate and Paul? Will Josie get a family that is for keeps?
This novel was both heartwarming and heartwrenching. It was hard to see all that Kate and Josie have suffered and endured as a single mom raising a daughter alone. At the same time, they are so close that it was beautiful to see. I loved how easily Kate and Josie interacted. It was refreshing to read about a mother-daughter-duo who could have a decent conversation and not end up in a fight every time.
I thought Natasha Friend did an excellent job of portraying the reality of teenage life and teen dilemmas. The mother-daughter relationship was a little idyllic but there were enough rough moments to keep it real enough.
I was drawn into the story and situations from beginning to end. I read a rumor that there might be a sequel coming. I think it would be wonderful to see what happens after the last page of “For Keeps.”
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