Friday, January 3, 2014

Book Review: The Long Way Home

This is the second book in Ann M. Martin's Family Tree series. My review for the first book, Better To Wish, can be found here. I loved the first book. The second book... eh, it didn't really live up to Better To Wish.  I really like this series because it's one of those middle grade series that deal with more adult content and the characters lives and emotions are very complex. Things often don't work out for the best, you know?

In The Long Way Home we find the main character of the first book, Abby, married to Zander Burley (her poet neighbor from the first book). Zander is now the author du jour in New York and the family is living comfortably. However, Zander also has a bit of a drinking problem. He's not a mean drunk, just goofy, but Abby does not approve. They have three children. A set of twins, Dana (this book's main character) and Julia, and a younger boy who has down syndrome. Dana does not like being a twin it seems, she tries to avoid her twin, Julia, and just wants to be an individual. Julia is a bit sweeter and really embraces the whole twin thing, wanting to wear the same clothes and do all the same things. 

When an accident on the Staten Island Ferry forces the family to cut their budget and move back to Maine, Dana quickly becomes extremely homesick for New York and begs her mom to let her live with her Aunt Adele who lives in the city working for a costume designer. Abby agrees and Dana moves back. It turns out the way home wasn't so long after all. I'm assuming that's where the book's title is derived from, but there was absolutely no struggle with Dana returning "home" and she only spent a chapter or two in Maine. 

I wasn't a big fan of Dana, I found her weak and not likable at all. I think Julia would have made a better main character. I also didn't like how Abby turned out so weak- relying on men to support her. She was hardworking, trying to support her children after the Staten Island Ferry tragedy, but I just felt like she was so smart and had been through so much in childhood that she'd turned out to be a better woman and mother. She was a total pushover to her children. Her daughter asks her to move a few states away to live with her aunt and Abby says yes right away and then later Dana has the audacity to tell her mom that she gave up on her when she was the one who was a total brat and Abby was probably happy to be rid of her because of her crappy personality!

Anyways, I also felt like the book was a bit rushed and forced which is rare for Ann M. Martin from my experience. It just didn't seem like the care given to Better To Wish was given to The Long Way Home. I still look forward to reading the next in the series, which will be about Dana's daughter. I am giving The Long Way Home 3 out of 5 stars.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Scholastic, in exchange for an honest review.

My challenge can be found here.

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