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'Red Glass' filled with vivid characters, places

March 03, 2009|By HALEY ECKEL / Pulse Correspondent

o "Red Glass," (Delcorate Books for Young Readers, 288 pages, $15.99)

In this second novel from Laura Resau ("What the Moon Saw"), the reader is captivated from the start by the story of 16-year-old Sophie, a fear-bound pessimist who believes chiefly in Murphy's Law: anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time.

The saga begins with her family's fostering of a young immigrant foundling. The boy will not speak, and Sophie, who feels lonely and left out at school, bonds with the immigrant child. She is determined to keep him with her forever.

The plot becomes more complicated, however, when the boy's relatives in Mexico contact Sophie's family a year after they take in the child. Sophie's Bosnian great-aunt Dika sets off with Sophie, Dika's new Mexican boyfriend and his son, and the little immigrant to find the child's Mixtec relatives in the heart of Mexico.

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Eventually, the boy must make the agonizing choice of whether to stay with his relatives or return to live with Sophie's family.

Readers will connect with the everyday struggles of Sophie, as well as the boy's more unusual conflicts. Resau's colorful and realistic portrayal of Mexican life and culture, as well as her rich descriptions and vivid attention to detail make this strikingly fresh and bright novel well worth the read.

Haley Eckel, 15, is a homeschooled student and attends classes at Hagerstown Community College. She enjoys reading for pleasure.

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