Friday, January 28, 2011

Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck

Publisher: Dial Books, Penguin Group, Inc.
Publish Date: Oct. 28, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3454-8
Pages: 193
Cover Art: Jennifer Kelly

Kerry's a sophomore at Pondfield High School. She sits at lunch pretending to talk on her cell, because her best friend transferred schools and she has no one to hang out with. One day she's swept in THE circle of girls: Tanya-a Senior, beautiful, in charge, organised and so knowledgeable about everyone and everything. Natalie -a Senior, the prettiest one. Makenzie - a Junior, 'ginger' hair, tiny and full of life.

Right from the beginning Tanya repeatedly says to Kerry "Try to keep up".  At first Kerry wonders if maybe they are the 'mean girls', then decides that they aren't, I mean Tanya keeps in communication with EVERYONE.  Besides, they took her in, right?  They can't be mean girls. I found myself saying 'they're using you!' to Kerry as I read, but Kerry is telling the story of what DID happen, so she already knows the ending and can't change it.

From the first day she hangs with the girls, Kerry notices that time...stretches...when you're with Tanya. Lunch goes on forever, or at least until Tanya's ready to move on. Natalie and Makenzie come across as the beloved pets next to Tanya's Queen. What does that make Kerry? The chambermaid, perhaps?

One day at school Kerry gets a call from Tanya, but she doesn't answer in time.  She tries to call back, but there's no answer. It turns out that the girls have been in a car accident and all three were killed.  Tanya was calling Kerry when she went off the road into the ditch. Kerry slumps into grief, but I couldn't decide if it was really for the three girls or if it's for herself and her social standing.

A month later, Tanya texts Kerry telling her to meet them at Aunt Lily's in New York.  What?! She's DEAD!  I know, right?! But does Kerry question it?  Nope, she picks up and takes the train to New York.  Here's where it gets weird. The girls greet Kerry at Aunt Lily's apartment (Aunt Lily is in Paris, apparently). They order food, dress in Aunt Lily's amazing old fashioned dressing room and go out to party. By this time I was annoyed by Kerry.  But then I remembered what it's like to be the shy girl, the new girl, the girl without friends and for the first time in the story, understood what Kerry was thinking.  How could she let these girls go? They were her only friends!  Who cares if they're bossy and kinda snooty and always saying "Try to keep up".  Not Kerry.  At first.

I was a little surprised at the ending and I think you will be too.  By the end, Kerry has learned something valuable and looks at people in her life with a new perspective.  I finished the book in one sitting, which I haven't done in awhile, but I just couldn't put it down.  I was too busy Trying to Keep Up.

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