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Stuff for the Teen Age

"Strings Attached": A Review

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Kit Corrigan has a lot of hopes and dreams when she gets to New York City in the autumn of 1950. What she doesn’t have is a steady job, a room of her own, or any surety that she has what it takes to make it. Back in Providence, Rhode Island, Kit left behind her family. She hasn’t heard from her boyfriend Billy, or her brother, since they enlisted.

It seemed like such a good idea to drop out of high school and move to New York and make her way in the theater. But maybe she wasn’t ready. Maybe she can’t do it all on her own.

Help, however, comes from an unlikely source.

Nate Benedict has a way of fixing things. He is a lawyer and he makes problems go away for his clients and sometimes for his son, Billy, and Billy’s friends too. He’s willing to help Kit fix her relationship with Billy — for a price.

All he wants is a small favor in exchange for an apartment and a second chance. Nothing big.

In Strings Attached (2011) by Judy Blundell, Kit makes the easy choice. But before she knows it, one small favor turns into another, and another, until Kit is in so deep she isn’t sure if she can get out.

Strings Attached is Blundell’s follow up to her National Book Award-winning novel, What I Saw and How I Lied (read the review). The author's latest book is just as much of a powerhouse.

This book has a complex structure, interspersing Kit’s presence in New York with chapters detailing key points in her past that led her to a point where accepting a favor from someone as notorious as Nate Benedict makes sense. The story, past and present, comes together seamlessly as Blundell unfolds a story filled with as much suspense and intrigue as any noir plot.

Strings Attached is an evocative look at an era and a place (both Providence and New York City). Kit is a charming narrator who is both unashamed and candid. Filled with mystery and romance, Strings Attached is an atmospheric novel that defies expectations and will draw readers in from the first line to the very last.*

*I don’t want to spoil anything, but I have to say Strings Attached probably has my most favorite last paragraph... ever.

Possible pairings: Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher, Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson, New York City: A Short History by George J. Lankevich, Vixen by Jillian Larkin, The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, Bowery Girl by Kim Taylor, and Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin.

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