Jill's Reviews > How to Build a House

How to Build a House by Dana Reinhardt
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May 08, 11

bookshelves: young-adult
Read in April, 2011

The main character in this book travels across the country to avoid her problems and get some distance from her life, and in doing so, she finds a summer romance, new friends, and some perspective.

My favorite part of this book was actually a fairly minor thing. Near the end as the group finishes the job and gets ready to leave, the teens start talking about what comes next. Having done a lot of summer programs (both as staff and "camper") and plays, this part felt very real. There are two kinds of people - the ones who pledge that "we'll be friends forever" and the ones who know that what happens in the summer stays in the summer - that you can't escape this truth. Reinhardt explains this better (she's the author, not me!) through dialog between the teens.

Some things that the author could have done better - the supporting characters were particularly thin. There were also supposed to be 16 of them, and only a handful got mentioned, which I think is kind of unreasonable if they're all supposed to work together. I don't expect them ALL to be fleshed out, but at least mention them.

I also enjoyed how the chapter titles/themes went along with the plot in the chapters as well as the flashbacks. Not overdone, and I never felt she was stretching the plot for the sake of the form. As another reviewer mentioned, this would be a good book for a writing class to use to explore how an author "does" flashbacks and a theme. Overall, a fun, fast read.
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