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At Yellow Lake Paperback – April 2, 2012
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Jane McLoughlin does a wonderful job of conveying the disparate backgrounds from which her three characters come and of making their individual life crises feel real and substantial. The clash of their three cultures is handled masterfully and the subjugation of their differences to the common need to work together to overcome the situation into which they find themselves thrown is believable and moving. The book has its inevitable share of hackneyed events and situations but these can generally be overlooked because of the overall quality of the characterisation and the intensity of the plot. Adults may find the action a little thin and the story's resolution tumble into place just a little too quickly but things probably play out at about the right pace for younger readers. The writing is excellent; the story is gripping and engaging, whatever your age.
Told in alternating chapters by each of the three main characters, the background of the main players; Etta, Peter and Jonah are explained well. The reader knows exactly who they are and why they are at the cabin on Yellow Lake. The young characters are very well done, each with individual voices, each with their own character and each with an interesting back story. However, the adult characters are not so well formed. They often appear stereotypical; the neglectful mother, the overbearing father, the wicked step-father, the drunks.
The story is a slow-burner, the three characters don't even meet each other until half-way through the book and when they do, it's something of a let-down.
I didn't dislike the story and I thought the writing was good, but I've read better YA novels.