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Shallow Pond Paperback – July 8, 2013
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The three Bunting sisters, of rural Shallow Pond, Pennsylvania, are orphans. Twenty-six-year-old Annie serves as mother, shelving her own dreams of college to raise her sisters. Twenty-one-year-old wild child Gracie is impulsive and erratic, always after male attention. Narrator and high-school senior Barbara is a focused sleuth intent on figuring out certain family mysteries while trying to avoid being paired up with ridiculously handsome new student Zach Faraday. What Barbara discovers is shocking indeed, for all three sisters are clones of their dead mother, and Zach is a clone of their (presumed dead) father, who is desperately trying to re-create his romance through the next generation. This cautionary tale of parents doing anything to live vicariously though their children lacks subtlety but rolls along at lightning speed with more than a few twists for a quick read. Grosso raises deep issues of identity and ethics that ultimately are more interesting than the often one-dimensional characters, but the swift pace will hold readers through a surprising ending. Grades 7-12. --Debbie Carton
About the Author
A former children's librarian and newspaper editor, Alissa Grosso is the author of the young adult novels Popular and Ferocity Summer. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and currently works as a sales consultant for a book distributor. Grosso grew up in New Jersey, where she graduated from Lenape Valley Regional High School, and earned a bachelor's degree in English from Rutgers University. She now lives in the Philadelphia area.
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Top customer reviews
1. The mystery was compelling and interesting. Can't say more about it except it wasn't what I thought. It wasn't so obvious that I had it all figured out in the first few chapters. I liked the concept, and I now love the title--Shallow Pond.
2. The writing quality was good and did not detract from the plot.
3. Strong female lead.
Neutral: The romance wasn't very developed or rather it developed in fits and starts, but I think this is more of a plot driven book than a romance novel, so it didn't bother me.
1. Some cliches but not so many that it ruined the book for me.
2. The characters could have been more fleshed out and multidimensional.
3. The ending was abrupt and not as satisfying as I had expected.
4. Being a nerd, I could have used a bit more science.
Conclusion: Definitely, worth a read. I'll recommend it to friends.
The Bunting family secrets don't turn out to be what I guesstimated when I read the cover blurp, but Alissa Grosso's characters hooked me right away. This is not another Twilight vampire romance.
Shallow Pond could be any small town USA. I live in a small town, so I understand the drama of everyone knowing all about everyone else. There are few secrets and fewer surprises. But, nothing turns out to be what is "known" as the story progresses.
The teenagers in the novel are spot on, with the typical high school romance, drama, dances, and ho hum high school days. The voice of the characters comes through as authentic and many readers will identify with one or more of the situations.
The Bunting sisters and family, on the other hand, are far from typical. Three identical sisters live together, but have their own individual stories. Yet no one can imagine the real truth which begins to be revealed when the oldest sister becomes ill.
Secrets continue to be revealed in the second half of the novel and at the end the reader is left wondering what could happen in the next chapter of their lives. Lots of what ifs to think about and open ended situations for a sequel. Lover of happily ever after endings, I'll continue to hope for Barbara and Zach.
So, the secret. I can't tell you what it is, or it'd ruin the story, but just know that there is a huge secret in this novel, one that I never saw coming. I loved that Grosso kept me guessing and that the foreshadowing wasn't over the top like it sometimes can be in novels, and I especially loved that once the big secret was revealed to readers (there are multiple small ones as well), everything else just fell into place. However, I'm a little on the fence in terms of the authenticity of the secret itself. It's a really cool idea, but as the novel has a very realistic feel throughout, this jarred me a bit. It's extremely interesting, but I'm a skeptic and I feel it's more on the impossible side than that of reality, but I also don't pay much attention to the scientific world, and part of me says that yes, it could happen. Advances are being made as we speak, so... perhaps. But secret aside, this is where Babie's breakdown happens, and her strong shell cracks to the point that she lost a little of my respect.
Zach is a great male lead: he's patient, kind, compassionate, and he understands Babie like no other. He has no family aside from a mysterious benefactor who has more than provided for him, and he's content to wait for Babie to come around to his side of things, to learn that it's okay to fall in love, and that love won't force her to stay in Shallow Pond. He's a good guy.
The end of the novel sped up a little too much for my liking, jumping an entire year, and then jumping further again. It felt like one of those movies that ends and then shows pictures of the cast with a blurb telling you what happened to them after the movie, and while I enjoy that very much in my movies, I would like my novels to keep fleshing out the story. It's a personal thing, though. I could read all day every day, but can only sit so long in front of a TV, so I assume most readers won't mind the quick succession of the ending all that much.
(Please note: I use the star rating system of that of Goodreads, which different from that of Amazon. My overall rating is that I liked it.)
Most recent customer reviews
Let me first say that I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this one.Read more