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Micol Ostow
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3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  396 ratings  ·  98 reviews
It is a day like any other when seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco, leaving behind her fractured home life and a constant assault on her self-esteem. Henry is the handsome, charismatic man who comes upon her, collapsed on a park bench, and offers love, a bright new consciousness, and—best of all—a family. One that will embrace her and give he ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published April 26th 2011)
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dear book, WHY ARE YOU POETRY??

yeah, this one is all on me. some wise customer had abandoned this book on one of my shelves at the store, and as i was walking it over the the resort cart, i read the flap, and i said to myself, "teen fiction about charles manson?? from a manson girl's perspective?? sign me up!!"


it is not teen fiction about charles manson.
it is teen poetry about charles manson.

and even the most casual glance through the pages would have told me that. but i got ahead of mys
The dust jacket says this was "loosely" based on the Manson family murders, but if you've read Helter Skelter or versed yourself in the grim tale of the murders, as I have, then you know this is nearly identical in detail to that frightening patch of sixties history.

In family, teenaged Mel runs away from her absuive family--the stepfather who rapes her and the disconnected mother who turns a blind eye--and straight into the arms of the charimsatic "Henry," who encourages Mel to join his famil
If I can say a book was disturbing and gorgeously written chances are it was a great book.

I don't have a whole lot of interest in Charles Manson, to be honest. I mean, I KNEW about him obviously but the last time I can remember making a conscious decision to read about him was when a late night Wikipedia-ing spree (you know how you look up one thing and then you find you've looked up about 80 things that had nothing to do with the original thing you were looking up?) ended up at his page. I have
As someone who's read Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders, I was interested in the idea of a YA book "loosely based" on the Manson family. Seeing that it was written in poetry form made me pick this up, thinking it would be a quick read.

Mel has run away from home (and her sexually abusive "Uncle Jack") and is living on the streets in Haight-Ashbury when she meets "Henry" (aka Charles Manson). Henry feeds her and gives her drugs and has sex with her in his van for three days, the
Erin O'Riordan
Several years ago I went to a performance of MacBeth at my alma mater, an all-women's college. The cast was composed entirely of women. As the director noted in the program, this was a deliberate choice, harking back to the Celtic matriarchal tradition, in which women used storytelling to pass on the culture's morals and values.

I imagine Family by Micol Ostow being read by a chorus of women for just such a purpose.

If you're younger than me, you may have read a book called Out Of The Dust, by K
Please don't ask me why I read this book. I saw it on Goodreads and it looked like it had some potential and upon opening the book I saw that it was written in episodic verse which I thought was pretty cool and I also thought that it would be a quick and easy read, in which it was, but all-in-all it is just a book. Simply a book. I am not sure if I hated it or if I liked it. I know that I did not love it. The whole repetitiveness was just mind boggling and quite annoying at times.

Family is set
It pains me to have to write this review because for so long I have pined after this book, and all I feel is let down. When I first heard that there was a YA novel about the Manson family murders, I was totally intrigues. I’ve read Helter Skelter many, many times, and I’ve watched countless documentaries on Manson himself, and his ‘family.’ I even have a favorite Manson girl:

These murders were vicious and brutal and scary. Really, really scary. The cult dynamics of the Manson family were intrigu
Intense and startling yet compelling, Micol Ostow’s Family is one of kind. It is dark and dreary yet that did not stop me from turning the pages in rapid speed, as this one book that you cannot put down once you have started it.

Melinda Jensen has never had an easy life. From a touchy “uncle” Jack to a mother who never cared enough, Melinda has had nearly no one to turn to in her past seventeen years of life. Lost beyond control, Melinda sets out to San Francisco with little to nothing, hoping t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Family by Micol Ostow
-This book was written for people who like creepy and scary books.
-I give this book 4 stars.
-I thought this book was really good, it kept me on my feet and it was super creepy. The main character Mel, got treated super bad growing up so she left her old family behind and was basically homeless until the handsome Henry found her on a city bus and offered her life, a family, and love. Something Mel has always wanted but never got. The only thing i would change about this book
Me and this book did not get along. I was intrigued because it uses the Manson murders as a basis for the story. The main character, Mel, is one of Henry's girls (Henry is Charles Manson). Mel comes from a broken home, where she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her mom's boyfriend, an "Uncle" Jack. She longs for a family, so naturally when Henry plucks her off of a dirty bench in San Francisco after Mel has run away from home, Mel goes to him very willingly. The book is told in verse and fi ...more
One thing I loved about this book - it's a novel in verse that truly does sound like poetry (a rare quality, I've found!) The poetry is odd and confusing, but that makes sense considering the often drug-addled main character is narrating. Unfortunately, the poetry is also REALLY redundant and repetitive.
The main weakness, though, is the bland characters and setting and the utter lack of motivation. I didn't understand for one second why any of these people were following Henry (the cult leader)
Alyssa Smith
Family: 1 star

I had high hopes for this book. But then I read the reviews, and my hope faltered. Then, I started reading the first few pages, and my hope basically plummeted until I almost put the book down. However, I was determined; it has to get better, right? There were some positive reviews, so maybe I'll end up liking it, too. I was wrong.

Family is about a girl named Mel who leaves her old life behind. She never knew her father; only her "uncle Jack," her step-father who would rape her nig
Ugh. I have been looking forward to reading this book for so long, but I keep trying to resist buying books because I have so many to read already. But I gave in anyway.. and it was a terrible waste of money.

Where can I start... I didn't know much about the Manson family before I read it but the cult-type novels and trying to read in someone's else's screwed-up mind is always interesting to me soooooo... I bought it.

I did go and read more about the Mansons after finishing the novel and I am surp
Jessica B

Give me a book about zombies, demons, or even serial killers and it doesn't faze me. But give me a book about a cult and I'm completely freaked out to the point that I'm looking in my closet for cult leaders trying to murder me and/or share their "message" (which would be worse? Honestly, I'm not sure). Apparently I have a huge fear of cults. Who knew? Anyways, on to the actual review:

I love books written in verse, but Micol Ostow's was different than any verse I
Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books)
3.5 stars

Family is one of the most disturbing and terrifying, yet oddly captivating, books that I have ever read. As someone who only knows the barest facts about the Manson family murders, Micol Ostow’s take on 17 year old Mel’s descent into cult life is haunting and creepy. We get to see her slowly, but surely lose herself to this notion of family; which is ludicrous and all kinds of messed up, but for someone who has come from so little and so much pain, it makes sense to Mel.

I couldn’t see t
Family by Micol Ostow
Egmont, 2011
376 pages
YA; Contemporary; Verse
4/5 stars

Source: Library

A novel loosely inspired by Charles Manson and his Family.

Wow. This is a very different novel than I'm used to reading. It's told in verse with almost everything not capitalized except for references to Henry, the cult leader based on Charles Manson. His magnetism brings Mel, our narrator, and other broken young people into his family. I didn't feel very drawn to Henry, which was unfortunate since his appeal
Emily Benoit
Concept/Ideas: 4/5
Storyline/Plot: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing Style: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3/5

I pretty much know as much as a person can know on the Manson family case, but personally I just couldn't get into this book despite my intense facination of the murders in general. Like many of the others who reviewed this book, I'm one of those people. One of those people who totally got pulled into the Manson family, the case, the 60s, Sharon Tate, and the whole helter-skelter 'ness' of it all. Fascinati
Told in verse, this novel follows the journey of one girl who leaves an abusive home only to be discovered by a cult leader. It's loosely based on the Manson family, which is a topic that I've personally never come across in teen lit. Melinda is immediately taken with Henry (the Charles-like character) and appears willing to follow him anywhere. She joins the family with few reservations and has no trouble joining in the free sex and drugs. Even as she realizes that something might be amiss, she ...more
E. Anderson
This novel told in lyric verse will make your skin crawl.

Of course, what else would you expect from a story based on the Manson Family murders?

FAMILY chronicles the life of seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen from the time she leaves home, to when she is found on a park bench by charismatic Henry, and through her time with Henry and her family — the young men and women who live on an abandoned movie set (“the ranch”) outside of L.A. Melinda, a broken girl having suffered abuse at the hands of her
Review from my blog: http://christitheteenlibrarian.blogsp...

Tell me that cover doesn't freak you out? Love it. At the time I'm writing this post, Micol Ostow is using the book cover as her profile picture, and it weirds me out a little every time I see it. Fun stuff, I tell you.

Now, the story. I'm only vaguely familiar with the Manson murders, but I assumed that, this being a fictionalized account, you shouldn't really need that much background info. I was able to understand the story, but, lik
I was interested in the idea of this book and that it is written in verse. I think YA needs more verse novels to help address the needs of a diverse YA population.

I'm thinking for the whole "hippie", free-flowing lifestyle of the sixties, this verse is very choppy. The constant periods and punctuation made this novel hard for me to flow with and read. Maybe that's the intent? The intense feelings need the abrupt stops???

I need more from Mel, the main character. I get she's broken; Uncle Jack s
Book Sp(l)ot
Micol Ostow's family is loosely based on the Manson Family murders (and Charles Manson's cult) of 1969. family's main character (and narrator) is seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen a girl who's run away to escape abuse when she meets Henry (the stand-in for Manson). Told in free verse poetry, familychooses to examine Mel's past as well as her introduction to and life in Henry's 'family.'

The 'family' lives together, sleeps together, eats together and shares everything. They gather food for their m
Miz Lizzie
A novel in verse about the (fictionalized) Manson Family is not something I would choose for myself to read under any normal circumstances. The local mock Printz discussion has it on our list, however, so I forced myself into it. I am glad to have the experience finished with but the book was well-crafted. Though the idea of a true-crime novel in verse might seem a weird juxtaposition, the somewhat distancing effect that verse novels often have actually made it an easier, more palatable read. Me ...more
First and foremost, I am NOT sympathetic to the whole hippie subculture. Not in the slightest. They need to shower and get jobs, quite frankly. And develop an opinion that isn't based in LSD highs and commune thought process. So why did I opt to review a book that is exactly this mentality? Because it's pretty much a roman a clef of the Manson family and I thought it'd be an interesting fictionalization. It further solidified my disdain for hippie speak and mentality and it was interesting but I ...more
Kelly Hager
This is inspired by the Manson murders. It's not a strict retelling (although many details are still the same). Melinda is a runaway and is immediately captivated when she meets Henry. She quickly goes to the ranch where he lives with his family and soon feels like one of them. What seems fairly idyllic at first (she loves Henry and has a best friend for what seems like the first time ever, based on how she talks; everyone shares everything) soon turns creepy. Henry is angry that his music caree ...more
My Review
Family by Micol Ostow was an emotionally packed read. This one is written in verse and discusses a very scary part of our history.

The book starts off in the present and bounces back and forth between now and the past, also adding in bits of Mel’s (main character) history. The first part was really brutal, it starts off using terms like “covered in blood” and “inescapable noise”. These terms set a very scary scene and have you kind of worried and drawn into the story right away. After t
Lee Anne
What if the Manson Family murders had a (somewhat) happier ending?

As a reader of many, many books about Charles Manson and the family, I was VERY wary of this young adult novel, written in free verse, told from the point of view of a Linda Kasabian/Leslie Van Houten hybrid. Who wouldn't be; that description is chock-full of red flags. But the free verse style works well for both the time period and the self-involved romanticism of a teen girl, plus it makes for a quicker read. The liberties tak
Excerpt from review below. You can read my full, in-depth review here:

"Evocative and gripping, Family is one of those books that, no matter how well you do or don't like it, will always linger with you long after turning the final page.................................................................

Family is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach as it delves into the complexities of cult life, not to mention the inclusion of drugs, sex, and murder
Jensen Sturzenegger
This story tells about the life of seventeen year old Melinda Jensen from the time she leaves home, to when she is found on a park bench by Henry, and through her time with Henry and her family -- the young men and women who live on an abandoned movie set ("the ranch") outside of L.A. Melinda, a broken girl having been abused by her stepfather and neglect at the hands of her mother, is easily charmed by Henry, and the love she receives both from him and from her new brothers and sisters. Henry i ...more
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Micol Ostow has been writing professionally since 2004, and in that time has written and/or ghostwritten over 40 published works for young readers. She started her reign of terror with Egmont with her novel FAMILY, which Elizabeth Burns named a favorite of 2012 on her School Library Journal-syndicated blog, A Chair, a Fireplace, a Tea Cozy. Micol's graphic novel, SO PUNK ROCK (and Other Ways to Di ...more
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