10 Stories Up Blog Review - Mud Girl

Reviewed by: Lindsay Carmichael

Abi lives in a house on stilts, set on the bank of a muddy tidal river. It's a precarious house for a precarious life. Her father's out of work, and since Abi's mom left, he can barely form words, let alone be a parent. Abi suspects that her Big Sister may have a hidden agenda. And while she's amazed and thrilled by his attention, Abi doesn't understand why the handsome Jude is more interested in her than in taking care of his two-year-old son. More than anything, Abi needs answers. Why did her mother go away? How can she help her father? Is there any way to drag herself out of the mud and up into the light?

I didn't like Mud Girl quite as much as Molly's Cue, largely because I found the third-person-present tense somewaht distancing. But I really enjoyed the parallel between Abi's environment and her emotional turmoil, and the book's ending - with its unvarnished, real-life messiness - is both heartbreaking and uplifting. 

In both books, Acheson captures the power of teenage emotion without becoming angsty. She also does a great job of creating adult characters that are real, flawed people, facing serious issues of their own. Very refreshing to read YA novels that give teen characters freedom to tackle their problems, without resorting to boarding schools or fatal parenting accidents!

Molly's Cue is lighter reading, good for younger teens. Mud Girl is both more serious and more mature. Both are good choices for readers who want their fiction certified vampire-free. 

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