Crowinator's Reviews > Dani Noir

Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma
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's review
Sep 29, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: childrens-middle-grade, contemporary, 2010-reads
Read in April, 2010

I ended up enjoying this children's middle-grade novel once I realized that it wasn't really a mystery. Dani, the titular classic movie-lover (she worships Rita Hayworth) and amateur sleuth, spends the summer trying to figure out if Jackson, the older boy working at the movie theater in their small town, who Dani has connected with over old films, is cheating on his girlfriend. This matters not just because she likes Jackson and his girlfriend, but because Dani's still dealing (or not dealing) with the fact that her dad cheated on her mom and is now living with his new girlfriend and her daughter. Most readers will know right away that Jackson is cheating on his girlfriend, so it's not really a mystery -- it's more about Dani learning to accept that sometimes people you care about let you down, but that doesn't mean you stop caring about them, or them about you. She also learns a little more about not taking people for granted, not being selfish and blind to the needs of others (friends and family).

As this book is mostly a character-driven novel, it succeeds or fails based on whether you are invested in Dani or not. I think Dani is great character with a very unique voice -- she wants to be inscrutable and haughty like Hayworth, but instead she comes off as prickly and self-centered (and she is), but she remains likable. She does a lot of growing up in this book, but it’s really the amazing descriptive, unique writing that makes this book. I think this is a stand-out title, as long as you know right off the bat that it isn't really a mystery (which disappointed me for about 50 pages once I figured that out).

Also, how great is this cover? It includes important images from the book (the movie marquee, the purple tights) and captures the kiddie noir feeling of Dani's narrative with the angles and the lighting. Perfect.
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Reading Progress

04/29/2010 page 115
43.73% "Love the writing but I was expecting an actual mystery."

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