Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

12:46 PM

Title: Stings Attached
Author: Judy Blundell
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 320
Source: Copy received from publisher 

Overall: 5 Stars

Summary:
When Kit Corrigan arrives in New York City, she doesn't have much. She's fled from her family in Providence, Rhode Island, and she's broken off her tempestuous relationship with a boy named Billy, who's enlisted in the army.

The city doesn't exactly welcome her with open arms. She gets a bit part as a chorus girl in a Broadway show, but she knows that's not going to last very long. She needs help--and then it comes, from an unexpected source.

Nate Benedict is Billy's father. He's also a lawyer involved in the mob. He makes Kit a deal--he'll give her an apartment and introduce her to a new crowd. All she has to do is keep him informed about Billy . . . and maybe do him a favor every now and then.

As she did in her National Book Award-winning What I Saw and How I Lied, Judy Blundell traps readers in a web of love, deceit, intrigue, and murder. The result? One stunner of a novel. 

My Thoughts:
After enjoying Judy Blundell's What I Saw and How I Lied, I already had a feeling I would enjoy Strings Attached as well... but what I was not expecting was to be blown away! Reading Strings Attached was like taking a step back in time to an era completely unlike our own. Details about the time period- mostly from the late 1940's to 1950 in the fall- are just so effortlessly woven into the story that it was simply difficult to tell fact from fiction! Judy Blundell has written a beautiful, poignant tale of loss, love, hardships, and the meaning of family. 

After her brother, Jamie, and boyfriend, Billy, suddenly enlist in the army together, Kit drops out of high school and heads to New York City with no more than a suitcase and a dream to become a star, leaving behind her father and sister back in Providence, Rhode Island. Kit may have talent, but accomplishing her dreams isn't so easy in a city where there are many others trying to make it big as well... and finding only small roles isn't going to be enough forever. So when Billy's father, Nate, finds Kit and offers some help all in exchange for getting back in touch with his estranged son, Kit may be hesitant but it's an offer she can't refuse. However, Kit will soon realize that all deals come with their own strings attached and hers may be more than she ever bargained for...

Kit was a strong, female lead... not afraid to speak her mind but also knowing when it would be more wise to keep her mouth shut. Although she dreamed of making it big, she was never overconfident or smug about her own abilities... she showed humility and an attitude to work hard. I've read a few historical novels where they have arrogant, cocky girls who think they're entitled to everything, so Kit was simply a breath of fresh air. She's mature beyond her seventeen years and this is really showcased well in the way she narrates the novel. In some ways, she did show the naivety that would more suit her age, but in time, she came to realize she was only a pawn in Nate's game of deceit. As Kit becomes more trapped, you'll feel helpless watching on the sidelines.

I loved the flashbacks to Kit's childhood. It may have sometimes slowed the story down at times, but everything is well-intentioned. It's in the past that we learn more about Kit's tumultuous, and often complicated, relationship with Billy despite their obvious love for each other, and it's in the past that we see how Kit's tough childhood has influenced her actions in the present. But perhaps more importantly, we also see how Kit's family has an intricate history with Nate Benedict. With its unhurried pacing, the build up to the final events did seem almost rather quiet before you suddenly found yourself reading it, but Judy Blundell cleverly lays out the clues for you to piece everything together.

Strings Attached absolutely broke my heart. Once I finished, reflecting back on the events and everything that Kit had experienced, I began to cry and couldn't find the will to stop. It was like the full force of everything that Judy Blundell had steadily built up to in the course of the novel suddenly crashed down on me. I mourned for a boy haunted by his past and ashamed to call a man his father, and I mourned for the tragic turn of events towards the end of the novel. But most of all, I mourned for a teenage girl who's only wish was to shine on the stage and be loved... yet only finding herself caught in a web of lies instead. 

Strings Attached certainly sets a standard for YA historical fiction that I'm now going to find difficult to top. Wonderfully detailed and absolutely well-written, it will appeal to both teens and adults alike. There's still an ache in my chest when I think about the novel because that's just how emotionally invested I became with this story.

Thanks so much to Scholastic Canada for sending me this copy!

You Might Also Like

7 comments

  1. Sounds really good, I haven't read What I saw and how I lied but I have heard it was very good, I'm glad to know this one is as well, the plot appeals to me a bit more than the first book. :D And the covers are lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I got a free copy from Scholastic Canada and I can't wait to read the cover alone is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This book seems to be really good! Would love to get hold of the copy!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lovely-detailed review. I can tell I am going to enjoy this one :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Congratulations, I've awarded you the Stylish Blogger award! Head here to check it out: http://starryskybooks.blogspot.com/2011/02/stylish-blogger-award.html

    If you don't accept awards, no problem. Just know that you've been admired!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh man!! It sounds so good, but I don't know if I can take the heartache. Sad books kill me, yet sometimes they can be the best ones. Either way, I love your review.

    ReplyDelete
  7. EXCELLENT review. I'm waiting on tenterhooks for this book.

    ReplyDelete