Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters - OPTIONAL

Winters, Cat  The Steep and Thorny Way, 325 pgs.  Amulet Books, 2016.  $17.95  Content: Language: R (40 swears; 4 “F”); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG-13.   

Hanalee lives in Oregon in the early 1920s.  Joe, the boy accused of manslaughter when her father was hit by a car and then later died, has been let out of prison and Hanalee has a bone to pick with him.  When she approaches Joe who is hiding in the woods he leads her to believe that maybe her step-father had a hand in her father’s death.  Hanalee begins to question her mother and her stepdad and learns that the quiet town in Oregon has many secrets.  Joe and Hanalee work together to try and figure out the mystery of Hanalee’s father’s death and uncover the town’s darker side.  

This book has a fascinating historical setting and the social injustices of the time period are explored in an empathetic and shocking way.  I liked Hanalee’s strong character, but sometimes the story felt like it was going in circles and the comparison to Hamlet made me dissatisfied with the story line.  I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to know what happened to her father but the content moved it from advisable to optional.  The language was out of place and there were many heavy topics involving homosexuality, lynching and eugenics.   

HS -  OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

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