March 17, 2011

Review of "Purple Daze"

"Purple Daze"
Sherry Shahan

Purple Daze 
4

Pub. Date: March 22, 2011
Pages: 208
Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers

Synopsis: "Purple Daze" is a young adult novel set in suburban Los Angeles in 1965. Six high school students share their experiences and feelings in interconnected free verse and traditional poems about war, feminism, riots, love, racism, rock 'n' roll, high school, and friendship.

Although there have been verse novels published recently, none explore the changing and volatile 1960's in America-- a time when young people drove a cultural and political revolution. With themes like the costs and casualties of war, the consequences of sex, and the complex relationships between teens, their peers, and their parents, this story is still as relevant today as it was 45 years ago.

I am beyond happy that I received this book for review because I totally would have missed out on a great book!  This is the second book in the last few months I've read that has been a historical fiction written in verse and I love this trend.  "Purple Daze" is a fast read where historical facts don’t bog you down.  The flow of the writing combined with the unique character voices was hypnotic.  I breezed through this book in only a few hours.  I don't usually comment on covers, but this one is awesome.  It is just so vibrant; I think it will definitely draw in readers.

The voices of all the characters sucked me into the story; I didn't particularly like them all, but they were very amusing and realistic.  Mickey is a character I wasn't overly fond of, but he was the perfect character to give a compelling account of what it was like being a young man in the Navy.  I think my favorite character was Phil; his letters were the most powerful.  I also feared for his safety with the characters in the book.  Even though Ziggy is a morally shady character, I still felt for her and wanted her life to get better.

I also really enjoyed how the book had an open ended ending.  Some of the characters' personal issues were wrapped up, but the book could have gone on for longer.  I didn't feel unsatisfied, but I wonder if other people will be.  Fighting in a war halfway around the world that seems endless and civil rights issues are still things that are happening today.  The futures of these things have not been decided.  There will always be causes for future generations to protest and wars to fight.  Even though this book is about the past, there are a lot of issues addressed that teens can relate to.

I highly recommend "Purple Daze" to pretty much anyone looking for a good book, especially to readers who either want to read more about the 1960's or enjoy historical fiction.  This would also be a great book for readers who may not particularly like reading historical fiction, but who enjoys coming of age stories.  If you enjoyed "Three Rivers Rising" or "Out of the Dust" then you would probably enjoy "Purple Daze".

*As stated earlier, I did receive a copy of this book for review.
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