- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
- Paperback: 372 pages
- Publisher: Simon Pulse (November 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743436849
- ISBN-13: 978-0743436847
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.1 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,064,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Queen of Everything Paperback – November 1, 2002
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"Nothing like that happens to people like me, not to people like my dad, who changes the oil in his car and pays his bills on time... I mean, imagine it. Your father. Your father. I can tell you, though, it does happen. To people like me." Up until now, 17-year-old Jordan's biggest problem in life was dealing with her hippy-dippy mom, the kind of woman who "might suddenly flop out a boob" to nurse her little brother. She much preferred the company of her calm, measured father, "a Shredded Wheat and All-Bran guy," who never embarrassed her in front of her friends. That's why Jordan is stunned when her nice, divorced dad starts acting like a lovelorn teenager over one of their neighbors, Gayle D'Angelo. True, Gayle is pretty, but she's also married. Too proud to let anyone in their cloistered Pacific Northwest island community know, Jordan decides to handle the situation herself. She tries everything from directly confronting her dad, to dating local thug Kale Kramer in a misguided attempt to gain her father's attention. But nothing seems to work, and when Gayle's husband goes missing and the police name Jordan's dad as a suspect, Jordan's life rapidly spins out of control.
Emotional and intense, Deb Caletti's first book for young adults is reminiscent of other recent teen psychological page-turners like Carol Plum-Ucci's What Happened to Lani Garver and Aimee by Mary Beth Miller. Jordan is a realistic heroine that older female teen readers will sympathize with and cheer for as she struggles to understand this suddenly complex world of adult motivations and desires. (Ages 13 and older) --Jennifer Hubert
From Publishers Weekly
The normally stable father of high school junior Jordan becomes involved with a married woman, then kills someone. Told as a flashback through Jordan's first-person narrative (although Jordan does not reveal at the beginning who dies), the novel takes place during the summer on a fictional island in western Washington. Debut YA novelist Caletti peoples Jordan's world with fascinating characters, including a hippie mother who runs a bed and breakfast with her kinetic artist husband, and her best friend, status-focused Melissa, who works with Jordan at a weight loss center run by an eccentric Christian couple. Jordan herself can be funny, making light of her situation with caustic remarks ("He was an optometrist for God's sake" she says when people ask her what her murderous father was like), and also vulnerable ("That's not what people want to hear-that my father was just a normal guy whom I loved, love, with all my heart") as she leads readers carefully towards her eventual realization of her own identity. She also weaves in pieces of advice she's picked up from Big Mama, a wise, warm-hearted fishery worker who often incorporates salmon into her lessons. Two subplots involving Jordan's romantic interests create unnecessary distractions, but captivating details make this scandalous story seem all too real, and Jordan's magnetic voice marks Caletti as a writer to watch. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
This was a pretty interesting novel. Jordan had a lot of stuff going on. It must be nice but a little strange having your divorced parents living so close. Jordan can easily bounce between household, so when one house proves to be too much she can just go over to the other one. This book was incredibly predictable though. From the first chapter, I knew exactly what was going to happen. The side stories were still interesting though, so it didn't ruin the book. It's just a shame that it was so obvious.
I loved Jordan's friend's brother, Jackson. He was just an awesome character and I loved that he just did his own thing. He played bagpipes. He washed his car in the middle of the night. He was simply amazing. If there was one person I would want rescuing me, it would be Jackson. Melissa, Jordan's friend, was not a very like-able character. I didn't find her to be a particularly good friend. She was a bit standoffish all the time. Big Mama was a pretty great character, but until the very end of the novel, I didn't really know who the heck she was. It was evident that Jordan and her had a close relationship, but I couldn't see how she fit into the picture. Even at the end it seemed like their relationship was a lot deeper than I would have imagined given the circumstances. I hated Kale. I have no idea why Jordan gave in to his lame attempts at courting her. He was not very smart and not a good person. Even after he did something horrible, Jordan just still went on with him. Jordan just clearly hung out with people she didn't like, because she was simply too nice to say so. It was perfect to have such a mix of characters though, because you can't love everyone or hate everyone. There was a nice balance of both.
I did like quite a bit of this book though. A lot happens to Jordan and in her life. I liked that this was a realistic look at a teen girl's life. Jordan wasn't perfect, she wasn't super smart or super pretty or super popular. She lived in a small town and life just happened. Really all the stories from the people around her were more excitement filled, but her story wove them all together. If you get a chance to read this one make sure you do. I always love how real Deb Caletti's books are so make sure you check them out.
"People ask me all the time what having Vince MacKenzie for a father was like."
"It can be exhausting eating a meal cooked by a man. With a woman, it's all Ho hum, pass the beans. A guy, you have to act like he just built the Taj Mahal."
The Queen of Everything is not Caletti's best. It is one of her earliest books, and the others I have read are much better. Caletti definitely has a gift for explanation and description. However, it is a little overkill in The Queen of Everything.
Caletti's style seems to be that she begins very slowly and then rushes through the end. In other stories, it has been a nice closure, but with this particular story it left me feeling a little empty. For as much building up there was, I did feel the end was rushed to the point of leaving behind a pretty big void.
Caletti's characters are always deep. I love this. Each character has specific likes, dislikes, and characteristics. They seem to stay true to those characteristics consistently. This is something I appreciate greatly.
As for Jordan, the main character of this particular story - I find her very selfish, immature, and hard to like. She is mean, judgmental, and weak.
This book is not on my list of favorites by Caletti, or of YA books at all. So I do suggest trying more of Caletti's books, in order to better appreciate Caletti's skills. I think you will be very pleased!
My top picks so far would be The Fortunes of Indigo Sky and The Nature of Jade.
I have read both of those, as well is The Queen of Everything, and Honey Baby Sweetheart (which I also was not very pleased with. It was better than Queen, but definitely not as fulfilling as my top picks).
Most recent customer reviews
My 13 year old daughter checked this out because it was on her A/R reading list.Read more
It's about Jordan, an average teenager with divorced parents.Read more
Jordan MacKenzie is a teen in high school.Read more