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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

[DEBUT] Few coming-of-age stories deliver the sheer lyrical power of Tallent's debut, a BookExpo Buzz Book featuring 14-year-old Turtle, who lives an isolated life in the Pacific Northwest. Turtle's mother died when she was young, and her father, Martin, has withdrawn to lead a survivalist's life and raise his daughter to be tough and independent in the face of a world he roundly despises. Turtle can shoot a gun like nobody's business and literally eats scorpions, but she lives in fear of the angry, abusive Martin, who trains her to be strong by holding a knife to her as she clings to the rafters. She's also acid-tongued in her resistance to outsiders, particularly her school peers and genuinely concerned teacher. Then, while roaming the gorgeously depicted wilds of the Pacific coast, she encounters slightly older boys Jacob and Brett, whom she leads to safety, and edges toward true feeling for the genial, generous Jacob. In turn, Jacob regards Turtle with something like awe, which can only lead to trouble. Martin means it when he bluntly tells Turtle "you are mine," and the narrative crescendos to raw violence as Turtle must act to protect herself and others from Martin's rage. Verdict Lucidly written, both heartbreaking and heartfelt, this book is ultimately affirmative without the slightest sentimentality, and it's remarkable. [See Prepub Alert, 3/27/17.]-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Room meets Rambo in this emotionally fraught first novel. Fourteen-year old Julia "Turtle" Alveston is growing up in Northern California, near Mendocino, under the overprotective eye of her abusive father, Martin, who, for all intents and purposes treats her like they live in a two-person survivalist camp-he teaches her how to shoot and hunt in the wild, and abuses and sexually molests her. Even though she goes to school, Turtle feels cut off from her fellow middle-school students until the day she meets Jacob, a high school student whose sudden appearance in her life forces her to question for the first time the way she's being raised. Martin adds a new member to the family, which forces Turtle to make a bold move to keep his history of abuse from repeating itself, leading to a suspenseful and bloody climax at a teenage house party. In Turtle, Tallent has crafted a resourceful and resilient character. Unfortunately, Martin is such an obvious psycho creep that readers will wonder why the characters he interacts with-Turtle's teachers, a friend from the old days-don't see through him. Jacob, too, in the dialogue the author puts in his mouth, doesn't sound like a real teenager. In the end, though, Turtle's story is harrowingly visceral. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER <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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