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My absolute darling
2017
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Julia "Turtle" Alveston (Female), Student, Social outcast, Her mother passed away; raised by her paranoid, survivalist father; keeps to herself; enjoys roaming the woods; becomes friends and falls in love with Jacob; determined to escape her father's control
Jacob (Male), Student, High school student; becomes friends with Turtle
Genre
Fiction
Domestic
Coming of age
Topics
School
Fathers and daughters
Motherless families
Friendship
Teenage girls
Crushes
First loves
Survivalists
Identity
Social outcasts
Obsession
Setting
California - West (U.S.)
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Twelve-year-old Julia "Turtle" Alveston-"Kibble" to her paranoid, survivalist -father-lives off-grid in Modesto, CA, and is barely making it through middle school. Her father prizes her ability to shoot accurately, reload quickly, live off the land, and be self-sufficient. He demands disdain for authority, misogyny, and isolation from others. When Turtle secretly befriends some boys her own age and witnesses "normal" family life, she begins to rebel. Her mutiny results in extreme violence, causing her to wonder if pursuing normalcy is worth it. Told with incredible tension, this fast-paced adventure dives into the deepest, darkest depths of the human psyche. Turtle is a superb character who is not only believable but relatable, despite the horrific circumstances she endures. Some listeners, however, may find this story difficult to hear owing to the long and explicit details of incestuous rape, torture, and violence, drawn through Turtle's voice, that force the story forward at a breakneck pace. Alex McKenna breathes life into Turtle and some of the book's more tangled prose. VERDICT A shocking, brutal, and completely unforgettable read, not for the squeamish.-Terry Ann Lawler, Phoenix P.L. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Voice-over actor McKenna delivers a chilling rendering of Tallent's debut novel, which depicts the horrific abuse and neglect of a preteen girl on the rugged Northern California coast. McKenna masterfully inhabits the inner monologue of young Julia "Turtle" Alveston with a husky, quivering voice that manages to portray both self-loathing pain and steely determination. McKenna switches between the male and female characters with ease, most notably in the interactions between Turtle and her abusive father, Martin. McKenna captures equal parts regret and concern in giving voice to Turtle's gruff, alcoholic paternal grandfather. She also shines in her delivery of Turtle's love interest Jacob, a boy from a wealthy family whose precocious intellect parallels Turtle's own sense of being different from her peers. McKenna portrays the conversations between these young characters as natural and plausible. McKenna deepens the story with spot-on vocal renderings of the protagonist and her peers; both Turtle and Jacob sound simultaneously young and advanced for their age. A Riverhead hardcover. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER <br> LA TIMES BOOK PRIZE FINALIST<br> NBCC JOHN LEONARD PRIZE FINALIST<br> ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES'S MOST NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2017<br> ONE OF THE WASHINGTON POST'S MOST NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2017<br> ONE OF NPR'S 'GREAT READS' OF 2017<br> A USA TODAY BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR<br> AN AMAZON.COM BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR<br> A BUSINESS INSIDER BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR<br> <br> "Impossible to put down." -- NPR <br> <br> "A novel that readers will gulp down, gasping." -- The Washington Post <br> <br> "The word 'masterpiece' has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one." --Stephen King<br> <br> A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl's heart-stopping fight for her own soul.<br> <br> Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father.<br> <br> Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her. What follows is a harrowing story of bravery and redemption. With Turtle's escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, the reader watches, heart in throat, as this teenage girl struggles to become her own hero--and in the process, becomes ours as well.<br> <br> Shot through with striking language in a fierce natural setting, My Absolute Darling is an urgently told, profoundly moving read that marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.
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