See Bethie Read: The Gallery of Unfinished Girls
I finished another book! I am back in a reading groove finally and I have a secret about what books are kind of my jam right now. YA novels. It isn’t necessarily that they’re any easier to read or simplified or anything like that. But I do find that they are a faster read for me. I chose my latest book kind of based on it’s cover – again, something I don’t normally do! After reading the synopsis though I thought this one would be a good read, The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz.
In The Gallery of Unfinished Girls, we meet Mercedes Moreno, an 18 year old high school senior who is struggling in several areas of her life. Her mother has just left to tend to her ailing abuela, she can’t seem to get her senior art project off the ground and she realizes she is in love with her best friend Victoria and doesn’t know what to do about it. She feels she should have so much inspiration to create an amazing art project, but she can’t put her paint to paper.
One day a new neighbor moves into the other side of the duplex where Mercedes lives and they connect when Mercedes learns she is an artist also. Her neighbor invites her to her special studio in a place called the Red Mangrove Estate. Once visiting the Estate, Mercedes feels her creative spirits soar as she experiences magic within it’s walls. She is frustrated that she can’t take anything out of the Estate and that the creative energy does not follow her when she is not there. Ultimately though, her time at the Estate and with her neighbor seems to teach her things and she learns about herself and those around her. By the end of the book she has found herself and knows where she is going, thanks to her kindred spirit at the Estate. I won’t spoil what happens at the end though, but it does help explain some of the magic she experiences throughout the book quite well.
Mercedes is a pretty likeable character. She marches to the beat of her own drum and is written in a way that the audience can empathize with. You feel her frustrations, her challenges and her fears. I was actually very proud of her by the end of the book for the things she worked through and figured out. I really didn’t care for her best friend Victoria, but she plays an important part in the story and in Mercedes life and I can see why she was necessary. The other main character in Mercedes life is her younger sister Angela. At times she is a bit annoying, but most kid sisters are, aren’t they?
It’s really interesting, at the end of the book there’s a little blurb from the author. She talks about how these were characters she created when she was young and spent years thinking about them and developing their story. I kind of related to that a little bit, I used to like to write short stories when I was young. I think it’s pretty awesome that she was able to develop something she thought up when she was around 11 or 12 and turn it into a full out novel as an adult. The result is pretty amazing. I really enjoyed this book and I’d definitely recommend it!
(And PS, I couldn’t help but love that the flamingos on the cover just happened to match one of my favorite bracelets from KEEP!)