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Title: Father Figure
Author: James J. Cudney
Publish Date: April 2, 2018
My Rating 3/5
Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly.
Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies.
Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent.
A story about two teenage girls. For Amalia, it’s the mid-1980s, and she’s desperate to leave her small town in Mississippi. For Brianna, it’s 2004 and she’s ready to leave New York City to to go off to college on her own.
Told with alternating points of view and alternating timelines. As with most books involving alternating timelines, part of the draw is seeing how the stories are connected. Both characters are similar in that they are teenagers wanting to be on their own and away from home. That’s where the similarities end though, because they have very different reasons for wanting to escape their hometown lives.
Amalia is an insecure teen in Mississippi. She is naive, lonely, and hopeful. She wants to leave her small town and escape her abusive mother. She also wants to fall in love.
Brianna is an angsty teen in New York City. She is sassy, selfish, and independent. She is struggling with two main issues, her sexuality and her father’s identity. She is sometimes attracted to men, but she is also finding herself attracted to her best friend. As for her father’s identity, her mother has been less than forthcoming about him, so Brianna sets out to find who he is on her own.
I really only had one issue with this book, but it held me back from truly connecting with the characters. This falls under books about teenage girls written by men, so not always a convincing female perspective. I will say that I enjoyed Amalia and was hoping for the best with her story. I really didn’t care for Brianna. She was too dramatic, and kind of hurtful to the people she supposedly cared about.
A contemporary story with an intriguing mystery. Tragic and heartbreaking.