Susan Carlton was born in San Francisco, although (to her great regret) she did not come of age in the hippie era. Her latest novel, Love and Haight, is set in the Haight-Ashbury in 1971, and has been nominated for ALA's Best Fiction for Young Adults and the Amelia Bloomer Project for feminist fiction for kids and teens. She is also the author of the teen novel Lobsterland and a longtime writer for magazines, including Self, Elle, and Mademoiselle. She currently teaches at Boston University. She lives in Massachusetts with her family and a not-so-standard giant poodle. Find her online at www.susancarlton.com.
I've been looking forward to reading this book since I first heard about it. It was a breath of fresh air. A young adult book that was original, light, and fun to read. I love the way the main character, Charlotte, thinks and speaks and all of the other characters are able to stand on their own as well. Every one is so uniquely different which makes each character instantly likable, even on their not-so-good days.
While the book covers only a short time within Charlotte's life, it's a very important week that will change her life forever. It was a joy to read and breeze through, no need to over think anything or try to unravel any underlying messages. It was just the type of book I needed after being weighed down with so many life or death heavy paranormal books as of late. While there was one moment that got me upset with a few characters within the book, it was so realistic, it had to happen, and things had to be better in the end for it. A great read for anyone who's ever dreamed of escaping!
This was a fun book to read. I, like Charlotte, grew up in a small town and understand why she dreams of life elsewhere. She dreams of living Bleak, Maine for boarding school and a better life.
She has the struggles all teenagers have between wanting to sleep with her first love, which someone beats her to that and taking care of her "siblets" because her lawyer mom is sometimes around, but drugged up with psychiatric meds.
When Charlotte is preparing to catch the ferry to mail off her apps for boarding schools she thinks:
I head to the door and , because I'm me, divert to thinking of doorknobs. Making a choice means not only opening a door but walking through. I'm good at looking at doors. At scrutinizing the hinges and condemning the colors. But actually the knob (brass or bronze or pewter or chrome) and committing to a future I've actually chosen. Well, it's a whole new concept.
If you know a teen who dreams of life elsewhere I recommend this book for them. It may help them make that decision and not regret the choice.
Charlotte, like the kid-lit spider she is named for, is a near-sighted word-lover who hangs out under the shadow-blue eaves of a wind-battered cottage on a bleak island in Maine. The web of relationships that entangle her are simultaneously the safe cocoon that has let her become who she is and the sticky trap that can prevent her from emerging to fly away free. She tells the story of a transformative week in her life in quirky-perky prose punctuated with "Wordly Wise Words," enlivened by interesting juxtapositions and color-obsessed images quite suitable for someone whose interior space is past due for redecoration. She describes her island life as like being in a goldfish bowl with nowhere to go but in circles. She loves her "siblets" but the older members of her "family archipelago," not so much, these days. Her neurotic mother makes her feel "small, anesthetized, unborn," while her dad's sketchy beard and questions about his sketchier past erode the erstwhile rock-solid foundation of their relationship. Even her relationship with Noah, her friend-since-forever, can't remain constant through the internal tumult that propels her to escape the gravitational pull of her island. A very endearing treatment of universal themes of adolescence. Go ahead! Read it! Janet Gingold author of Finch Goes Wild