A New Entry For My “Best Books Ever” Tag on LibraryThing

I have been reading a lot of books lately, and most of them don’t make any impact on me whatsoever because it is all “same old, same old, I’ve read it all before” type of stuff. Ugh. Then I picked up a book (rather reluctantly) and it proceeded to totally move me and affect me in ways that I still can’t quite comprehend.

I usually try to read most of the new Junior Fiction and YA books that come into the library. This is possible because I don’t buy a whole lot with my tiny budget and also I can read pretty fast. So I checked out Keeper by Kathi Appelt just because I check out all the new books. I didn’t really want to read it because I am terrified of her previous book The Underneath. I will admit that I haven’t read it, but I have been warned that a lot of animals get hurt and it would make me cry buckets of tears. (And I know that it is probably a beautifully written book that totally deserved the Newbery Honor, but I don’t care). That is all I need to know to keep me away. So of course I was nervous to read Keeper, because there is a dog and a seagull right there on the cover. Warning! Warning!! This was another animal book!!!! But I had read the review, and it didn’t mention anything about disturbing treatment of animals, so I approached it with caution.

Wow, I am so glad that I gave it a chance because this book is phenomenally wonderful. I can’t even put into words how fantastic it is, but I am going to clumsily try to describe why I like it. First of all, the writing is so poetic and beautiful. There are repeated phrases throughout that almost make it feel like a novel in verse at times. I could really see and feel everything the characters were going through, which I consider a solid victory on Ms. Appelt’s part since I know nothing about the area of Texas where it takes place.

The basic premise of the book is that a young girl, Keeper, sets out in a tiny boat with her dog in the middle of the night to find her mother, who she believes is a mermaid. She is looking for her mom because in one short day, she has managed to disappoint and piss off everyone that she loves in some way or another.

I loved how the book starts out with that scene and works backwards to let us know the catastrophic events of the day. I kept thinking, “man, what did she do to make everyone so mad??” Then I had to know what was going to happen to her, because I cared so much about all of the characters. We get a chance to see the world through each of the characters’ (even the animals) perspectives, which is another thing I really loved. I especially loved seeing into the world of the two dogs and Captain, the seagull.

And I just want to say randomly, that Keeper has some of the most real, honest, and beautiful portrayals of love that I have ever seen. I don’t think I’ve read anything in a long time that comes close to what Keeper accomplishes in that arena.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot of the book because it is much better to experience it page by page, like opening a present very slowly to heighten the excitement of the final reveal. (Sidenote: for this reason I never EVER read the inside flap of books before I start them. I have usually read a review, but most of the time only remember vague details from them. I literally like to go into a book knowing nothing. Whoever writes those inside flap thingys doesn’t know the concept of spoilers.)

So please, go read this book!!! I recommended it to one of my coworkers at the library and she adored it! I was happy that she also understood that this book is really special. I feel like it is a priceless treasure hiding amongst all the generic crap out there right now, just waiting to be discovered.

Jen

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3 Responses to “A New Entry For My “Best Books Ever” Tag on LibraryThing”


  1. 1 ngtlindsay September 13, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I totally forgot you told me to read this! I am going to pick it up at the library next time I go!

  2. 2 ngtjennifer September 13, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Yea! I hope you love it too!

  3. 3 ngtlindsay September 13, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Me too! And I just went to place a hold on the book on the library’s website and it’s not even there yet! Growl!!


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