I don’t typically read a lot of teen or Young Adult books but every once in awhile one will catch my eye at the local library and I’ll pick it up. I do love that they are such fast reads and always offer reminders of what it was like to be a teen. Recently I read The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen FinneyFrock.
The basic story is that main character Celia Door was horribly bullied by some girls in her school. In reaction she turned “dark”, writing a lot of poetry, hiding behind a goth exterior, pretending not to care what anyone thinks of her. As high school starts she befriends new student Drake. She promptly gets a crush on him but then learns he’s gay … still it’s nice for her to have a friend and especially one that other kids see as cool. A series of things happen and her poetry book gets stolen and a poem about Drake being gay is posted all over the school, effectively outing him. It ultimately doesn’t have the dramatic impact you might think it would and the story kind of ends with quietly shortly after this scene. The title of the book refers to a plan Celia has to get revenge against the girls who bullied her but she basically realizes in the end that developing her own life, creativity and friendships is of more value.
What I Liked
I can’t really say I liked or didn’t like the book. It was just one of those things I sat down and read in a quick sitting to zone out and relax my mind and for that I totally enjoyed it. But if I had to get nitpickier, I’d say here are the reasons I liked it:
- The author does a good job of revealing little bits of Celia’s story over the course of the whole book.
- The character of Drake isn’t super stereotypical in what it means to be a gay teen coming out.
- There are some funny scenes that make fun of the self help reading movement; they aren’t the bulk of the book but they entertained me.
- The author works in her own poetry through the main character. She’s written two books of poetry previous to this book (her first novel) and from a writer’s perspective it’s interesting to see her write it in.
- Descriptions of Celia’s encouraging middle school English teacher remind me of a teacher I had when I was in high school.