Grist by Heather Waldorf
Since I have the day off, and the next week is looking pretty crazy, I think I’ll try to get at least a little bit caught up. So – Grist…
In other reviews recently, I’ve mentioned the cover of a book, especially when the cover just didn’t seem to fit the story. The cover of Grist is certainly one of those cases. Looking at the cover, I was convinced that the person (who I wasn’t even sure was female) was some sort of monster rising out of the lake and that we should ship this title off to the fantasy committee. It is, in fact, not quite half of a girl’s face (the other half is on the back cover and looks decidedly more human).
And the blurb on the front cover: “Char’s boyfriend is hot, but he soon turns out to be a lot more than she bargained for – in ways she could never have expected.” While this is all basically true to the plot of the novel – it gives a completely false impression of the real heart of this novel. It made me think that there was going to be something seriously wrong with the new “boyfriend” – like that he was a psycho ax-murderer or something – when he turns out to simply be…. (you didn’t actually think I was going to tell you? I don’t give away spoilers!). But he is a good guy, I promise!
But despite all my complaints about the cover, the novel itself was quite good. Charlie (Char) is sixteen and her world seems to be coming apart. Her father has just started dating again and is planning to spend the summer in Toronto with his new girlfriend and her three sons. Her best friend, Sam (who she has more than a little crush on), is moving to Australia with no idea how she feels about him. And, to top it all off, her creative-writing teacher refuses to give her an A on her final writing project because her writing lacks grist, or real life experience – and then proceeds to have a heart attack.
So, when she is given the opportunity to spend the summer with her grandmother in Lake Ringrose – she jumps at the opportunity. There, she meets Kerry (the boyfriend mentioned earlier) and begins to find out more of her family’s secrets.
Grist was much more well-written than I expected, and I found myself caring about Charlie and her family. I did keep expecting a ghost or something supernatural to pop out of somewhere – but I think that was just the spooky-ness of the cover. And now I’m definitely going to have to go find Heather Waldorf’s first novel (Finding the Current, 2005)