Book Talk: Y by Marjorie Celona

Shannon’s story begins with an end, the moment her mother abandons her in front of a YMCA just hours after her birth.

This debut novel is a coming-of-age, pretty messed up adventure, led by an orphan’s quest to find her place in the world. We get to know Shannon through both her present and pre-past, the stuff that happened before she was even born. We watch her get tossed from foster home to foster home as a child, and develop into a self-proclaimed “weird” young woman. She’s short and has weird knees and can’t see out of one eye and has frizzy white blond hair. She’s both introspective and daring, trusting and cynical. She aims to please, yet keeps people at a distance. Most importantly, she is really freaking cute. Shannon is quirky but honest, making her a wonderful narrator.

We see her thoughts, dreams, insecurities and goals. Her pain, curiosity, willingness to love, and desire to fit in somewhere – anywhere – are palpable. We want her to figure herself out. We want to reach through the pages and hold her. To tell her that she’s beautiful and smart and hilarious. We want her to not give up.

Shannon, oh awkward Shannon, how wonderful you are.

I’m not going to spoil the end because it made me cry (although, after my last few reviews I’m beginning to think it’s not that hard anymore). I will say that the journey is worth it. It may move you. It may inspire you. Who knows? It may even change you.

Book: Y
Author:  Marjorie Celona
Type: Emotional, coming-of-age drama

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