Book Review: "Dangerous Neighbors" by Beth Kephart
It is 1876, the year of the Centennial in Philadelphia. Katherine has lost her twin sister Anna in a tragic skating accident. One wickedly hot September day, Katherine sets out for the exhibition grounds to cut short the haunted life she no longer wants to live.
First off, I'd like to say that I absolutely LOVE the cover of this book. The color is just absolutely beautiful. I love finding bird eggs on the ground or in a nest because of the wonderful colors that they are and it's lovely to see it replicated on the cover of this book. The cover gives way to the story inside which is just as beautiful and fragile as the egg portrays.
Katherine and Anna are twins and best friends. They have always been there for each other from the beginning. Then Anna begins to grow apart from Katherine who is not quite ready to let her sister go. The story starts with Anna's tragic accident already happening and the reader must work their way backwards to find out what actually happen. It's a very moving story as you read about Katherine's feeling throughout the book and how much her sister meant to her because as twins, they always have and will be a part of each other.
I really loved the historical aspect of the novel. I have always found world's fairs to be wonderful places to set stories especially after I studied more about them in my graduate classes. Kephart makes the Philadelphia's fair come to live and I could picture myself there, hearing the crowds and seeing all the spectacles. It must have been a grand time to live in an age where technology was so new and exciting.
The only small qualm I had with the book is that I felt it ended rather abruptly. The book is rather short, at less than 200 pages. By the time I got to the end I felt that I was now finally beginning to understand Katherine, and then the book ends. I would have liked more with her and also to find out more about Bennett and William. Both of the boys seemed like they had more to their stories but we barely get a glimpse of them before the book is finished. However even with the shortness of the book, Kephart still packs a mighty heavy punch with this book. It is deeply engrossing and very emotional. There needs to be more YA like this and I really do like YA historical fiction. Here's to another beautiful read from Beth Kephart and I'm looking forward to more from her.
Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart is published by Egmont USA (2010)
This ARC was provided by the publisher at BEA 2010