Unabridged Bookshelf's Reviews > The Earthquake Machine

The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry
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Feb 26, 2012

really liked it
Read from February 29 to March 01, 2012

The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry is a novel of self-discovery, grief, and adventure. The only thing that gives Rhonda peace is sneaking out before dinner to spend time with her gardener, Jesus. At 14, Rhonda’s life turns upside down when the neighbors have Jesus deported shortly before her mother commits suicide. She is now all alone in a house, with a father who cares more about work than being there for his daughter. Her best friends invite her along on a trip to raft the Rio Grande; during that trip, Rhonda decides that she does not want to live her life anymore.

Instead of suicide, she decides to swim across the river into Mexico, and change her life. She decided she would rather be a boy, and becomes a Mexican boy names Angel. From there she travels through Mexico to find her friend, Jesus. Along the way, she meets interesting characters both good and bad. During this time, she makes discoveries about herself, and tries to fill the void that her other life has left.

I really loved the journey that Rhonda/Angel takes to discover herself, and the understanding she gains. My heart hurt for poor little Rhonda, for one who is so young to feel so much grief in her life. When Rhonda sheds her old life to become Angel, she really does completely change. She goes from a scared little girl, to a brave young man in a way. She carries the strength throughout the story.

While this book has a young protagonist, it is not something I would not recommend to young teen readers. There is a lot of foul language, and the journey involves a sort of sexual self-discovery. It would be great for adults and some older teen. Mary Pauline Lowry has a way with metaphors and descriptions that allows you to experience the events of the book.

**Unabridged Bookshelf received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review**
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