Here's the Goodreads summary: "Mama takes thirteen-year-old Serena and her sister to the US in search of fortune, leaving behind their multicultural family, stability, and the colors of the Caribbean. After driving from Miami to Hollywood, their money and luck run out and a 1963 Ford Galaxie becomes their first American home. Guided by the memory of her native Curaçao and the words of her wise grandmother, Serena confronts unimagined challenges and grows up quickly. What gifts will this new country bring, and at what price?"
This book definitely doesn't fall into my usual reading canon--I'm mostly about the fantasy and the dystopia, so this was a change of pace for me. What drew me to this book originally was the concept--I thought the idea of following the story of a girl moving from Curacao to America was an interesting one. Not knowing much about the Caribbean other than the few places I've been on vacation, I decided to give it a shot.
Selbert's voice is unique, both in general and even more so in the YA world. It's a quieter voice than most YA I've read, and Serena is a narrator who likes to tell you things in her own time. As we follow Serena and her family on their journey across America, she intersperses her present-day experiences with memories of her life in Curacao and the sprinkling of family stories.
It was interesting to read about Serena and her family's shared history in Curacao. As I mentioned earlier, I've only ever been a tourist in the Caribbean, and my knowledge of what life is really like there is quite limited. The things that Serena's mother accomplishes and what day to day life looks like on the island provide an interesting contrast to her life in America. Reading this book made me wonder about some of the places I've visited on vacation and what it really looks like to live there.
HOUSE OF SIX DOORS is set in the 1970s, which is something else I haven't seen done much in the YA world. I suppose this could be the new trend for historical fiction, especially since the target audience for the YA world was born in the mid-nineties (does that make anyone else feel old?) and it won't be long until the first children of the 00s will be hitting their teenager years (now I feel REALLY old.) It will be interesting to see if Selbert's novel remains unique in this aspect or if more fiction will appear set in this time period.
Overall, this was definitely not a beach read type of book, but it brought up some issues I hadn't given much thought to before. It had a lot of interesting elements that I haven't seen used or worked with much in other YA books, definitely giving it a different feel.
And now, on to the TWEETSTAKES!
To win my ARC of HOUSE OF SIX DOORS, all you need to do is tweet @FirstNovelsClub and tell us the most interesting place you've ever visited. Maybe it was South Dakota. Maybe it was South Africa. Either way, we want to know!
HOUSE OF SIX DOORS Tweetstakes is open beginning right now until 11:59 on Wednesday 3/23/11. Open to international followers! Contest winner will be contacted via DM on Twitter, so PLEASE make sure you check!