May 29, 2011

Review: Squalor, New Mexico by Lisette Brodey

Darla McKendrick is nine when she first hears her mother and her aunt Didi secretly discussing their younger sister, Rebecca, speculating about her life in squalor. From the moment Darla asks to know more about her mysterious aunt, she is offered nothing but half-truths, distortions, and evasions.
As Darla grows into her teen years, her life is oddly yet profoundly affected by this woman she has never known. She can't help but notice that Rebecca seems to exist only in dark corners of conversations and that no one ever wants to talk about her - with Darla.
Squalor, New Mexico is a coming-of-age story shrouded in family mystery. As the plot takes twists and turns, secrets are revealed not only to Darla but to the "secret keepers" as well. Darla learns that families are only as strong as the truths they hold and as weak as the secrets they keep.

Secrets are very powerful things. A good story about trust, honesty, lies and so much more. Sometimes the past is a very difficult thing to let go of. Whenever the past carries over in to the present everyone involved can be affected by it. One girl's search for the truth can hurt the people she loves. Maybe, the past should be left in the past. The author did a wonderful job of catching the true meaning of friendship, wisdom and most of all the truth.

Publisher-Saberlee Books
My Score: 4 Stars- Good Book
Reviewed by~Mechele


  1. It is true as Mechele suggests that some secrets are better left in the past. I would not have considered the secrets in Squalor, New Mexico to be among those.

    When a secret carries so much hurt and betrayal that it begins to destroy the precious years of one's life it should not be hidden.
    I believe Lisette Brodey's book Squalor, New Mexico to be a book that honestly portrays how much harm can come from secrets and lies.

    I would agree that the author did a wonderful job of catching the true meaning of friendship, wisdom and truth. But totally disagree that this book should get 4 stars.

    It is one of the best books that I have read in a long time and would give it without hesitation 5 stars.

  2. This is a modern classic! Certainly this book should be on every YA reading list, and should be required reading for anyone who interacts regularly with YAs. The characters in Squalor, NM, challenge the reader to consider new ways of looking at everyday situations. Further, it encourages the reader to consider how the events of a person's youth can manifest itself far into adulthood.

  3. I agree with Marta And Leigh Ann. In Squalor there are several factors that play a roll here. One the secrecy between Darla, her mother and Aunt. Also the "Secret" with Aunt Rebecca.

    Squalor New Mexico does show what can happen when people hide the truth. It shows how lives can be affected when a family member is emotionally "scarred" and "scorned".

    Lisette Brodey did an excellent job is bring about the emotions in her characters, and readers as well.

    I give this book Five stars and recommend to all.

  4. Mechele here, I did not mean to offend anyone by giving this book 4 stars. It was a very good book. However, only wonderfully outstanding books gat a 5 star rating from me. As a family member who has lived through lies, deception and unimaginable soul shattering hurt, I also have been scared. One thing I know for sure is that the only way to get over the past is to face it, deal with it and let it go. Leave the past in the past and face the future. Thanks for the feedback.

  5. I Highly recommend Squalor New Mexico & Crooked Moon. Lisette Brodey is definitely an Author to follow. I anticipate more Great Reads from this upcoming author.

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