Release Date: 04/04/17 | Contemporary | 5 hours 45 minutes | Balzer + Bray
I’ve had this book on my radar since I saw Sarah Dessen was just gushing out it on Twitter late last year. It’s the 7th book from veteran YA author Sara Zaar and tells the story of the titular Seattle sisters who grew up with neglectful parents that never wanted to grow up. The sisters have always looked out for each other but when Dixie, the younger, more social sister, enters high school with Gem, the introverted, quiet sister it brings a new strain to their relationships.
This is a short, slice of life novel that I think is what the cool kids call quiet YA. It reminded me a lot of the early 90’s contemporary YA I used to read in high school. While there is a game changer plot point about 50% and they go on an adventure for most of the book you’re just kind of along for the ride, watching their life play out as they manage their mother and responsibilities.
Audiobook narrator Julia Whelan had some great voices for all the characters and I liked the way she did dialogue but Gem is the narrator in the book and Whelan has this very cool, flat affectless tone that just didn’t do it for me. She also sounded just a little too mature for a teenage characters.
I’ve started to notice that contemporary YA has been really reflecting the current moment the best it can. We’re seeing books about police brutality and undocumented immigrants and I think this is probably the first of many book reflecting the opioid crisis.
Gem and Dixie is a quiet, introspective YA that made me feel a little nostalgic for those early 90’s books.
Also, I know some people don’t like a lot of romance in their books and there is also absolutely no romance in this book.
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.