Jonelle's Reviews > Back Roads

Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell
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Sep 04, 11

bookshelves: coming-of-age, family, suspense
Read from August 25 to September 04, 2011

"Back Road's" author, Tawni O'Dell, is the closing speaker at this year's Pa Library Association conference; so I wanted to read one of her books before hearing her speak. "Back Roads" is also one of the few Oprah books that I've actually read...and while I expected it to be about a very dysfunctional family, it was also more of a page turner than I had expected. Set in rural Pennsylvania coal country, it tells the story of a 19-year-old boy who is left to care for his three younger sisters after his mother is convicted of killing her abusive husband. I think O'Dell got the right mix of poverty-stricken coal country setting and family dynamics, but I don't think that she got the voice of the teenage boy quite right. Often he came off sounding more like a girl than a boy. I'm looking forward to hearing O'Dell speak this fall.
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