Friday, October 3, 2008

Enchanting Review: The Shape of Water

YA contemporary
305 pages
Available now

Rating: 3.5 Enchantments

Fifteen-year-old Magda’s life seems so surreal after her mother’s death. Her only outlet to her pain is setting off fires in the woods next to her Staten Island home.

After her friend Julia leaves, Magda becomes lonelier. A family of fish quarrel in her mind and she can’t get her father to talk about her mother. Then things change when her father finds a new love interest. Magda tries to find out the truth behind her family secrets and make sense of her own life. Slowly she wonders if she is slipping into the same madness that took her mother.

This lyrical tale flows like a poem in motion revealing the turmoil Magda goes through after the death of her mother. The only way she can ‘feel’ is by setting fires. Spollen does a good job of having us guess if Magda is walking on a thin line of madness. The use of elements also helps convey the dreamy state Magda walks through.

What didn’t work for me was how at times I was lost on what was happening in the story, especially when the talking imaginary fish pop up in Magda’s head.

This literary tale takes a sensitive subject and shows us how one person struggles to make sense of a loved one’s death and her own place in this world.

Anne Spollen is the mother of three children. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. The Shape of Water is her first novel for teenagers. Check out more at

SEPT. 08

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