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Squalor, New Mexico

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4.57  ·  Rating Details ·  79 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Darla McKendrick is nine when she first hears her mother and her aunt Didi secretly discussing their younger sister, Rebecca. When Darla asks to know more about her aunt, she is given no answers. As Darla grows, her life is oddly affected by this woman she has never met and learns that families are only as strong as the truths they hold and as weak as the secrets they keep ...more
ebook, 350 pages
Published October 4th 2010 by Central Avenue Publishing (first published June 11th 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Ward
Nov 26, 2009 Ward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. It’s one of my top five books of all time. I just finished reading it a few months ago, and plan to read it again very soon. Normally, I read non-fiction but this book is more real than most non-fiction. The characters were so believable and true to life that I wanted to meet them after I finished the book. I genuinely wanted to see how they were doing.

My own life is about overcoming obstacles. While my book, Thank My Lucky Scars, chronicles the real-life hurdles I have faced w
...more
Jen Knox
Jan 11, 2011 Jen Knox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I finished in 2011!

I'm partial to memoir. The first person telling, especially from a young person's POV, can be difficult to pull off in a believable way in a novel. Squalor, New Mexico, however, is an example of how to do it well.
In this tale, Lisette Brodey has created a narrator who is so endearing that her telling and revelations within the book feel like genuine (albeit innocent) confession; it is as though she exists and is teasing out the secrets of the adults aro
...more
Sheri
Oct 16, 2013 Sheri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Squalor New Mexico is a front to back 5 star read. Darla McKendrick is a child when she hears her mother and Aunt Didi talking about their sister Rebecca. Darla and her three cousins are curious about their estranged Aunt. Yet when questioning their parents they never seem to get the answers they desire, leaving the topic of Rebecca a mystery.

As Darla matures she seeks more answers on her mysterious Aunt, who seems to profoundly affect her entire family. As truths are revealed, more secrets awai
...more
Christy Stewart
In my review for Brodey's first book I said that there was little of the content that I related to but this book is the polar opposite. The book follows the life of a girl from her childhood on and on, and it does so with such candor for what it is to be a young woman (or person in general) growing up. Darla is like a mirror image of anyone at their most awkward moments from when she believes that squalor is a city in New Mexico on to when she tells her father that she hates him.

This book has gr
...more
Stuart
Oct 24, 2010 Stuart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed every aspect of, Lisette Brodey’s highly entertaining novel, ‘Squalor, New Mexico’. The story flows wonderfully from the onset when nine-year-old Darla McKendric becomes aware of her mysterious Aunt Rebecca. We follow Darla as she searches for the truth.

The tale is told with such amazing realism, candour and delightful wit infused throughout. With skilfully developed characters, we are taken on a journey of family secrets, lies and betrayal. I was totally captivated as the story advanc
...more
Wright Gres
Jan 09, 2010 Wright Gres rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition



If you've read Lisette Brodey's "Crooked Moon," you know the good writing and reading treat you're in for. At the same time, "Squalor New Mexico" is a very different kind of story.

Told from the point of view of a young girl growing up, the story is delightful, sometimes making you feel the hurt, confusion, and anguish of growing up, and leading us to unexpected revelations. Oh, and don't make the mistake of thinking Squalor is a place in the American Southwest.

Not my usual fare -- I'm more often
...more
Leigh Ann Wilson, Ph.D.
Mar 12, 2011 Leigh Ann Wilson, Ph.D. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general
Brodey's second book is a masterpiece. It's impossible to read this novel without easily identifying with and caring deeply about the characters. Sadly, this is a skill that many of today's writers do not possess. There is not one character who seems to have it "all together" or lives a perfect existence. Each person has some sort of trial to face, with some handling it better than others. This integration of real-life problems that many of today's families must battle adds the human element wit ...more
Marta Moran Bishop
May 10, 2011 Marta Moran Bishop rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully told story of just how much secrets, lies and the refusal of adults to let the past go and move on can hurt even those who have no part of the event.

It shows a complexity of emotions, while delving into the depth of emotional upheaval that puberty brings, made worse by a disfunctional family life.

Darla is time after time brought into the dark little family secret, while being told lies and half-truths which only serve to confuse and make her even more curious.

I loved this
...more
Michael Rusk
May 08, 2011 Michael Rusk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You may read my review at www.amazon.com/Squalor-New-Mexico-Lis... as DeciduousTree.

To sum it up - I love the book and highly recommend it to everyone. Don't be misled by the YA label some have added to it. I found it to be a mystery novel that was as gripping and intense as some other authors whose books have been made into movies. In fact, Squalor, New Mexico would make a great movie!
Annie
Oct 01, 2009 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Squalor, New Mexico is now one of my favorite books. What a beautiful story and so real. I absolutely loved this book and will recommend it to all my friends.
Joann Muszynski
Sounds like a great book that is a must read for me.
Maria Stanica
Apr 03, 2015 Maria Stanica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 stars.
Woah.
LK Griffie
Sep 01, 2011 LK Griffie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Remember those humiliating moments during childhood and adolescence when making a public mistake? Or when someone outside the family has been subjected to the dorkiness that is your parents? If so, you'll have an idea of what it's like to be Darla McKendrick, who is easily embarrassed by her father's cliches and suffered a major humiliation because of a lie told to her by Aunt Didi when she first learned of an aunt she'd never met -- Rebecca.

As Squalor, New Mexico opens, nine-year-old Darla ove

...more
Louise
Aug 23, 2013 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Story Description:

Saberlee Books|June 11, 2009|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-9815836-1-7

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. Sh
...more
Maria
Mar 25, 2012 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. This is a young adult book but it will appeal to readers of all ages in my opinion as it deals with a subject that everyone can relate to: family relationships. The book is written in the first person from the perspective of Darla, a teenager. Lisette Brodey has done well to really get inside the mind of the character, she has captured teenage angst well.
I enjoyed this story about a family secret that captures the imagination of Darla, her cousins, and her best frien
...more
Racheal Renwick
Apr 24, 2011 Racheal Renwick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lisette Brodey, an amazing author, really gave me something to tear up about besides my hormonal pregnancy tendencies. Squalor, New Mexico is a brilliantly written book. It plays out just how any story would when being told through the eyes of a girl. A girl named Darla. Darla is an ordinary girl growing up in an ordinary household. Until one day she learns she has an Aunt she never knew about. Aunt Rebecca. From that moment on, over the years, Rebecca's name happens to pop up more and more. And ...more
Ann Mauren
Sep 08, 2010 Ann Mauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Squalor, New Mexico, by Lisette Brodey, is a page-turning journey through a family’s mysterious and dark past as revealed through the investigations of one if its youngest members. Part mystery, part coming of age, and part family biography, the story pulled me onboard and captivated my heart and my imagination like a runaway train. Ms. Brodey’s prose has a pleasing rhythm infused with rich detail, relatable—even familiar—conversations, and perfectly timed humor laced throughout. As an honest an ...more
Megan Hansen
This was a very captivating read! The story starts with Darla at nine years old having her innocent eyes opened to a very adult reality. The story turns into an intriguing mystery as Darla and the reader discovers more and more about the world around her as she grows up. The narrative is perfect, easy to read and be enthralled by. The last half of the book is a whirlwind of drama as the story unfolds and all her family secrets come to light. It was impossible to put this book down!
Sherrie
Jul 02, 2009 Sherrie is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I admit that I have just received Squalor, New Mexico, so I have nothing to say so far, other than I am cursing any and all distractions coming my way to keep me from what I know will not disappoint. Lisette Brodey is truly intuitive and brilliant at portraying human nature. And for myself, nothing speaks more highly about an author and her craft. (Wait a week or so, and then watch me find more ways of speaking highly!!)
Katelyn (Tales of Books and Bands)
As the story starts out, we are introduced to a very young Darla. She is a curious little thing and that gets her into trouble as she overhears a conversation her mom is having with her Aunt Didi. What Darla doesn’t know at the time is that overhearing this small conversation will cause a lot of pain, embarrassment, and enlightenment on family secrets in her future.

When I first read the summary of the book, I was curious to see just how far the family secrets can stem back into the past. We lear
...more
LK Griffie
Aug 12, 2012 LK Griffie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, young-adult
Remember those humiliating moments during childhood and adolescence when making a public mistake? Or when someone outside the family has been subjected to the dorkiness that is your parents? If so, you'll have an idea of what it's like to be Darla McKendrick, who is easily embarrassed by her father's cliches and suffered a major humiliation because of a lie told to her by Aunt Didi when she first learned of an aunt she'd never met -- Rebecca.

As Squalor, New Mexico opens, nine-year-old Darla over
...more
Doreen
An all time treasured read – so very hard to put down!

Squalor, New Mexico is outstanding – a class act story from beginning to end. A masterfully crafted coming-of-age story, my read not only catapulted me immediately into Darla’s world but also, plunged me deeply into memories of my own formative years. Although Squalor is purported by some to be a novel for young adult readers, there is a tonal quality of exceptional maturity to the story that resonates throughout. I highly recommend it for ad
...more
Lisa
Mar 05, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

The story is very current and relevant for today's issues, even though it is set in the 70's. There are many situations that Darla McKendrick faced that I encountered as a child and that my own children may face. It was very interesting to be able to look at these issues as an adult but also relate as a teenager.
It also highlighted the fact that we should always try to be as open and honest with our children when asked questions. Having to deal with the answers the
...more
Christa
Jun 20, 2011 Christa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Lisette Brodey’s earlier book CROOKED MOON and liked it. However, the author really outdid herself with SQUALOR, NEW MEXICO, a story which not only appeals to young adults but to all of us. It’s first and foremost the coming of age story of young Darla McKendrick. However, the book asks some deeper questions: How do we deal with uncomfortable truths, lies, and secrets in a family or in society at large? Like most parents, the McKendricks try to “protect” their child from some of the unple ...more
Melissa
Aug 02, 2009 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, 2009
This was an interesting and quick read. I enjoyed seeing the characters of Darla and her cousins, April, May and June, mature as the story went on. The family dynamics were very believable, although at times some of the situations the four teenagers were encountering seemed to mirror the lives of their parents a little too closely. Overall, it becomes quite clear that keeping secrets from those you love most can do more harm than good and sometimes even the best intentions can lead to disastrous ...more
Christine Lowe
Aug 29, 2015 Christine Lowe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Great Book

This is a wonderful family drama that is filled with love, hurt, humor and healing. The truth that allows healing is a painful lesson: we are only as sick as our secrets. When those secrets are exposed they no longer have the power to rule our lives. Ms Brodey is a gifted writer who was able to keep me interested as the story unfolds and the family secrets are revealed.

There is so much more in this book than just the mystery about Rebecca. I really enjoyed Darla's friendships with he
...more
Meredith Fry
I got this book from a giveaway this fall. I was determined to read it quickly and write a review. However, I found it difficult to get through the book. Honestly, it was very obvious that an adult had written it. It was in the perspective of a teenage girl, but everything was so melodramatic and flat out angsty that it was hard to read. I really value realistic female characters in novels, and this book didn't seem to exhibit any. I think the story had potential, but the character was completel ...more
Kelly
Oct 26, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spoiler alert for New Mexicophiles: This book is not set in New Mexico and actually has nothing to do with New Mexico at all.

Once I got over that disappointment, I found myself lured into a family drama told from the perspective of a young girl moving into her teenage years. It's not my normal genre, but I have to admit it had me turning the pages and wanting to find out how it all worked out. I gave it 4 stars a little sheepishly.
Darlene
Nov 12, 2014 Darlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seldom have I ever been as moved by a book, as touched by the characters as I was by Squalor, New Mexico. I laughed and, yes, I cried. They felt as real as anyone in my life. I lost myself in this book as the real world slipped away and Darla, the protagonist's family, friends and enemies became mine as well. Read this book and lose yourself in Squalor, New Mexico. You won't regret it. And you won't be able to stop turning pages.
Kaye
Aug 05, 2011 Kaye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Squalor is the story of growing up and family relationships. It reminds us that we sometimes make poor decisions no matter what our age.

Families can be complex and have secrets and none more so than Darla’s. I was delighted as I shared Darla’s journey through her teen years and the eventual solving of her family’s big secret.

Touching and funny the book is well written and will delight readers of all ages. Highly recommend.
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Lisette was born and raised in Pennsylvania. After high school, she moved to New York City where she attended Pace University and studied drama. After ten years in New York, several of them working in the radio industry, she moved to Los Angeles where she held various positions at Paramount Studios in Hollywood and CBS Studio Center in Studio City, CA. Back on the East Coast, she worked for many y ...more
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