Treasa's Reviews > Dani Noir

Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma
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Mar 11, 10

bookshelves: children, grades-3-5, realistic-fiction, broken-families, mystery
Read from March 06 to 09, 2010, read count: 1

Dani's life is falling apart: since the divorce, her mother spends most of her time crying; Dani's best friend, Maya, moved away weeks ago and has yet to call; and Dani is being forced to spend a weekend with her father and his girlfriend. At least she has the solace of the Little Art, a one-screen movie theater in her small town that is showing only film noir reels this summer. When a glimpse of a girl in pink polka-dot tights makes Dani suspect that something sketchy is going on, she begins to investigate. Along the way she learns about friendship and about herself, and she learns that, while film noir might be fun to watch on the big screen, it is not as glamorous as Rita Hayworth makes it seem.

I love a lot of film noir, so I was excited to read this book. And it was ok. But I felt that it could have been better. Dani is a fairly realistic, self-centered, clueless 13-year-old girl. Frankly, I didn't like her very much. Before she became friends with Maya, she had been best friends with Taylor for years, until they hit 6th grade and Dani thought Taylor was too immature (still interested in unicorns). I was like Taylor (although I was never interested in unicorns) and therefore have little sympathy for Dani "dumping" her.

I recognize that Dani is going through a very difficult time because of her parent's divorce... but she is just so completely self-centered. I was very pleased when Austin points out to her just how selfish she is. She breaks the rules all the time for stupid reasons, she is rude to her mother and to her friends' parents... seriously, the only thing I liked about her was her taste in movies.

I appreciate how the author includes Facebook and cellphone cameras in an attempt to bring a film noir detective's investigation to the present day. But the book just didn't grab me. Nevertheless, it was still worth reading, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to a child I thought might be interested. It is certainly a different sort of mystery, which is kind of fun.

I can't decide whether the references to old movies and the actors and actresses that starred in them would cause confusion or whether they would inspire interest in the old movies... However, I would be willing to take a chance and hope that it would be the latter.
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