By Brooke Taylor
Serena Moore is, for the most part, your average high school student. A couple of years ago her relationship with her mom deteriorated and she doesn't know why or how to repair it. She loves her best friend Kori Kitzler who is both a good and a bad influence. She's a gamer, finding refuge in the programming she can control. Although she wishes fellow computer geek Josh didn't have a crush on her. And that she could talk to Anthony Beck normally.
Brooke Taylor swiftly sets up this high school atmosphere. Serena and her three closest friends are fringe popular, though they think of themselves as outcast, and are somewhere between being good girls or bad girls. Kori's angry and wild and confident. She drinks, she does light drugs, and she sleeps around. But she's got a good heart and works to help Serena find herself even as Serena resists finding herself by simply following Kori. But things change when Kori dies.
Serena thought the only secret in her life was her father's identity. But now she's about to find out how many things Kori kept hidden - the least of which is the attractive shaym. Every revelation allows Serena to understand her more, even as her heart breaks further.
Reading UNDONE reminded me of the first time I read LOOKING FOR ALASKA. I cried, less during UNDONE, but I had errands my mom made me run during a crucial part of the novel. I think it calmed me. But the author slowly made it better, soothing the wound as the characters healed. It's the kind of book that's a little difficult to read in parts because it gets the emotions so right.
Serena, like any teenager, is self-centered. But Taylor fleshes out her world and you can catch glimpses of the journeys other characters are going on - Parker, Marci, Cole, and Lexi especially. All of them are going through difficult times as well. Their peripheral stories interact well with Serena's, allowing the secondary characters to have depth without stealing the show.
Serena and Kori wrote five things to tempt fate in class with their favorite teacher, Kori with thought and Serena carelessly. But in a town called Kismet with a mother named Destiny, fate just might respond. Serena struggles to complete Kori's list but her own haunts her as well. UNDONE is an engrossing tale of relationships, secrets, and self-discovery.
For more information go to her website or blog. Taylor is a member of the Class of 2k8. UNDONE will be released July 22. UNDONE's narrative involves a version of the fascinating site PostSecret.
Watch for my interview with Brooke Taylor coming soon. I loved the book so much I e-mailed her as soon as I finished the novel. Thanks to Midnight Twilight from whom I won a copy.