Monday, May 9, 2011

Purple Daze by Sherry Shahan

Purple Daze is a young adult novel set in suburban Los Angeles in 1965. Six high school students share their experiences and feelings in interconnected free verse and traditional poems about war, feminism, riots, love, racism, rock 'n' roll, high school, and friendship.
Although there have been verse novels published recently, none explore the changing and volatile 1960's in America-- a time when young people drove a cultural and political revolution. With themes like the costs and casualties of war, the consequences of sex, and the complex relationships between teens, their peers, and their parents, this story is still as relevant today as it was 45 years ago.

Purple Daze recounts the stories (based on real letters) of four teenagers on the brink of the Vietnam War and their last year of high school in the 1970s. While examining the current events of the time, the foursome face war, protest, a messy love triangle and the consequences of their mistakes as well as friendship. Eventually, the characters’s lives become as scattered as the world around them.
The most interesting thing about this book is the way it is written: a cross-between verse and prose. While the very short-style passages that are suppose to resemble the teenage mind is fun, the plot is not much more than blips of randomness. Understanding some of the dialogue or relationships between a few of the characters is a bit difficult because the passages were so quick and vague. Also, please be aware that there is a lot of talk of drugs, drinking, sexual references and content so this is not a good book for younger readers.
Purple Daze is a unique way of expressing life but I just didn’t like the plot nor the “focus” of some bits of the story. I did however, like the inspiration of one of the male characters (Phil). His character was based on a real guy the author knew in high school. She even dedicated the book to him: To Phillip Cole...because you waited.

Recommendation: Enjoyed the style but not the actual “story”. However I believe it was a good message about consequences and choices; not recommended for anyone younger than age 16.

Content: Language, drugs, alcohol, sexual content, descriptions of war (R)

|Pages: 197|Release Date: March 2011|Publisher: Running Press|
|Genre: Contemporary, historical fiction, war, love, friendship|
|Content Rating: 1/5|Cover Rating: 5/5|Overall: 2/5|

This Review is copyrighted© by Books and Literature for Teens. Special thanks to Nicole.

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