Becky's Reviews > Dani Noir

Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma
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's review
Jan 10, 10

bookshelves: mg-other
I own a copy

Full disclosure: I picked this book up because the author, Nova Ren Suma, is a lovely person who I know from a forum and have met for coffee once. Generally, when browsing, I lean more towards scifi/fantasy (shock, I know), but I think I probably would have picked up Dani regardless, because the title is catchy, the cover is gorgeous, and the idea of a tween girl heroine who loves noir movies is awesome.

The book stands up. It’s very voice-y, and Dani is a great character. She’s interesting, but not always very nice, striking a great balance as a character who was often selfish and inconsiderate, but still likable; whose motivations are always clear and make her bad behavior understandable, even sympathetic. But what really stood out to me were two elements. First, the setting, a small town in upstate NY. Hey, I’m from one of those! I kept smiling at the descriptions throughout. My town is actually even more rural and much smaller than Dani’s, but it’s also a town where all the adults know who all of the kids are, where someone might see you when you’re hiding and call your mom because everyone knows everyone’s business.

Then there was Taylor. Taylor had been Dani’s best friend growing up, but they’d grown apart; Taylor was kind of weird and nerdy, and Dani was frustrated with her for not getting that maybe the friendship was past its sell-by date. The friendship story arch was great, but it also made me cringe and have to read through my fingers like I was watching a horror movie, because I am Taylor. Or at least, I was when I was in middle school.

Actually, that got me thinking: I’ve always read scifi/fantasy as escapism, and someday I’ll probably write a much longer post on that. But reading about the relationship between Dani and Taylor drove that home to me: genre fiction is much further removed from my own experiences, and I’m much more comfortable reading it. But the fact that it made me cringe is, I think, a testament to how right the book gets things.

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