Author: Tracey Porter
Genre: Teen Fiction
Publication Date: May 24, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN-13 Book: 9780062080110
Source: I purchased a copy of the ebook for my Nook from Barnes and Noble. This is my honest review!
Lark by Tracey Porter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One chilly day while waiting for her father to pick her up from gymnastics practice sixteen year-old Lark is abducted, stabbed, sexually assaulted, and left to die tied to a tree in the nearby woods. This book is a haunting tale about three girls and their struggles to come to terms with a horrific event. Nyetta a twelve year old who remembers fondly the times when Lark was her babysitter. Eve, Lark's former best friend, who has dark secrets of her own that created a wedge between her and Lark. And finally Lark herself, who needs her story told.
Almost every review I read for this short book compared it to Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. Now that I have finished Lark I can see why that comparison was made. Much of the book is similar to that story, but this one doesn't quite have the heft, or even the emotional punch of The Lovely Bones. With the exception of the rape scene, I might even call this book a toned down version or even a cliff notes version of The Lovely Bones.
The story alternates between three characters, Lark, Nyetta, and Eve. All three are scarred and attempting to heal from the hardships in their lives. While their stories are convincingly told, you never have any emotional connection to the characters. There is a disconnect somewhere, and you never have any real emotional investment in this novel.
Lark also presents an interesting, if not a little confusing, mythology about murdered girls turning into trees. While this adds a whole new type of paranormal aspect to the story, it also leaves you wondering what is real and what isn't. Is Nyetta telling the truth or is she crazy. Thankfully, this question is resolved, but at first it just felt a little awkward.
That said, Porter is a talented writer, and does a superb job of writing a harrowing tale and telling it in such a short number of pages. I read this book in one sitting and just flew through the pages. Lark captures your attention from the first page and holds it to the very last. You want to know what happens to these characters. Porter's prose is pleasantly descriptive without going overboard or meandering onto other topics the way so many novels have of late. This is a tightly written exquisite piece of literature that will keep the reader hooked.
Overall, while lacking the emotional punch of The Lovely Bones this novel does offer a well written and interesting story. One that will keep the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next.
Cautions for sensitive readers: This book, while marketed to teens is definitely one that should be reserved for mature teen readers. The scenes of the rape are quite explicit and could be disturbing to the unprepared.
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