Sunday, February 28, 2010


cover by Marcos Calo
Publisher: ALADDIN

Fade in on thirteen-year-old Dani. It’s the summer before eighth grade, and she’s stuck in her nowhere mountain town with only her favorite noir movies at the Little Art theater to keep her company. But when a big secret invades the scene in real life, Dani can’t let it go. All she knows is someone’s been lying, and it all has something to do with a girl in polka-dot tights… Armed with a vivid imagination, a flair for the dramatic, and her knowledge of all things Rita Hayworth, Dani sets out to uncover the truth, and learns more about herself than she ever thought she could.

     It's three for three in good reads for me this year when it comes to novels. My first two books read fell into the YA section of things and with DANI NOIR I found myself reading my first Tween book of the year. Hell, my first Tween book in a really long time.
     Loved the old movie connections in this story. The book has as one of its strengths how it uses pop culture references and it does so better than most books I have read. A lot of writers could learn from how references are used in Dani Noir. I know I'm taking note. The references are not just thrown in, they are threaded into the soul of the story.
     The lead character, Dani Callanzano is not the most likable young lady and that is actually how I like young lead characters because looking back, be honest, weren't most of us jerks in our own ways either to others of our own age, to parents, or siblings? This characters has weakeness that are right there for you to see. As with most young people of her age, the world spins around her. This story paces its way through a short period of time in the life of a young lady as she deals with the divorce of her parents, an uncoming remarriage, and she does so by finding a mystery. While the mystery is explored she gets her first taste of love, well puppy crush love, the complicated nature of relationships, and how hero worship when it comes to fictional characters can mislead you in real life, especially when you are young.
     Dani Noir has the best cover of any book I've read in a long time. It's a wraparound cover that really makes you glade you pulled it off to give it a full look. A great cover is a part of the book and could also hang on your wall just as easy. I'm not a fan of photo covers which is the popular cut and paste for most YA novels. I only mention YA novel covers in a review for a Tween book because I wish and pray that more YA novels would follow the idea. One out of every fifty photo covers work, the rest, no. I give thumbs up to the cover artist for Dani Noir because this cover enhances the story and makes me happy to see artwork on a book cover instead of photos pulled from stock.
     From reading a few places online it looks like the next book from Nova Ren Suma will be a YA novel and I will be reading it when it is released but I hope she also returns to the area of Tween fiction soon and if she does so I double hope she brings back Dani. I give this book four out of five stars. I highly recommend Dani Noir.

Cover image and summary taken from the official Dani Noir website. Link found above.

Review written by Brian C. Williams

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