Friday, October 26, 2018

Coco for Grownups

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Open Mic Night at Westminster Cemetery by Mary Amato
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dear reader, I did not want to like this book, but I ended up loving it. I didn’t know its structure when I ordered it, just the plot: a young girl wakes up dead in Poe’s graveyard. I must admit it’s been years since I read a play, let alone a novel written as a play. I doubted. I didn’t want to do the conceptual work of reading. But what is drama but the exploration of character, and these characters (though dead) live on the page. What the book pulls off is Coco for grownups. I laughed, I cried, I was won over. Definitely not for middle grade in America, with swearing and sex topics, but its honest portrayals of the shared difficulties of diverse people of different eras and cultures is both nuanced and impactful.
Introduced the right way, I think even whole classrooms of teens would love this book—as a read-aloud or acted-out serial. Perfect for All Souls season!

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