Sunday, July 14, 2013

Visitation Street-Ivy Pochoda

Visitation Street

Ivy Pochoda

Dennis Lehane Books/Ecco, Jul 9 2013, $25.99

ISBN: 9780062249890

In Brooklyn’s summer baked Red Hook neighborhood teenage BFFs Val Marino and June Giatto decide to ride a pink raft on the bay. They walk past the projects where their former friend Monique lives, avoids Coffey Park and see eighteen year old Cree James, whose father was murdered, at the pier. Not long after they set sail, an unconscious Val floats ashore while June vanished along with the raft.

Grieving the loss of her best friend, Val is ostracized and bullied at school and scorned in the neighborhood. Her family tries to be there for her, but Val feels they do that out of duty not love. School teacher Jonathan Sprouse knows how she feels and tries to help her cope while the police focus on Cree, who feels Val’s torment.

The strong cast and the Red Hook location make for a fabulous character study with the neighborhood stealing the show between the grim projects and the working middle class homes undergoing as part of the renaissance of the fourth largest city. The mystery of what happened is a deft hook, but the grim storyline is more a deep look at a divided neighborhood through the anguished filters of key characters turning this into a profound urban thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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