10 December 2008

How to Build a House by Dana Reinhardt

Dana Reinhardt does it again. Realistic fiction at its best tells the story of seventeen-year-old Harper, who decides to take a break from life, including from her broken family and her none-too-perfect sort-of boyfriend. Her passion for environmental and social responsibility leads her to the volunteer organization, Homes from the Heart, and she ends up spending her whole summer rebuilding a home in Tennessee that was destroyed by a tornado. Upon her arrival, she is stressed out and tired of having to deal with people, but new friends and tough physical work begin to break her down and win her over. More than anything, it is watching her get to know her new friends and fall in love with Teddy, the son in the family for whom the home is being rebuilt, that allows the reader to become completely immersed in the story, wherever it leads. Her ultimate realizations about family, relationships, independence, and love are the icing on top of the cake. The reader is alternatively heartbroken and uplifted by Harper, and by those who lift her higher. Some age- and situation-appropriate language and some sexual encounters might make this story appropriate for an older readership, but the character’s exploration will appeal to teens and adults alike.

Highly recommended to high school readers.
Call number: YA REINHARDT (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

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