16 February 2011

Face Value by Catherine Johnson

For a story that starts out slow, readers stumble into a world of drama and intrigue. The novel is told in alternating perspectives – between fifteen-year-old Lauren in present time and her guardian Nessa as a teenager years ago. Nessa was Paula’s best friend and she took over guardianship of infant Lauren when Paula committed suicide in prison. Lauren doesn’t understand why Nessa is so against Lauren engaging in the modeling industry like her mother did. Through the alternating dialogue the reader discovers that Paula had more experience as a prostitute than a model and was involved in an extremely dangerous life. The climax of the story arises when Lauren is kidnapped by a man who thinks he’s her father. The novel reads as though it could use a bit of editing, and the language of the characters is written with thick accents that can be distracting. However, the plot is suspenseful and the more you learn about the characters, the more you begin to care about how they are going to come out in the end. Lauren slowly begins her first romance, the relationship becomes stronger between the two females, and Lauren and Nessa discover a certain comfort in their lives.

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