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review: “the splendor falls” October 15, 2009

Posted by Katie in reviews.
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The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore.
Delacorte // Hardcover // 528 pages.
Reviewed from purchased copy.

Sylvie’s dreams of being a ballerina were shattered by a broken leg just as she had reached the top of her career. After mixing some pain pills and champagne, Sylvie gets shipped off to Alabama to work through her problems. What she didn’t count on was the mystery of her town, two cute boys vying for her attention (and infuriating her at the same time), and a crazy Southern family.

This book is so hard to sum up in my normal summary section because it has so much going on. It’s a slow and steady read, keeping readers interested but with a smooth, quiet build. There’s mystery, history, romance, and a bit of the supernatural. Really, something that almost any teen could find interesting in one book. The different elements are blended well, the book is only the stronger for the mixture.

Sylvie is an excellent character, well-developed, with flaws and strengths. She really worked for me as a leading lady — her heartache over not being able to dance really hit home for me (as a violinist, I had a serious wrist injury in 9th grade…long story, long time ago). I also thought that her family situation was very realistic and that a lot of teens (and maybe myself a bit) could relate.

The history of the novel is well researched and explained throughout the book, but not in an information dump way. The explanations come naturally through a professor and other town members. The supernatural elements in the book might surprise some readers, but there are clues along the way that some may pick up on.

And that brings me to Rhys. Of which I can only basically drool in response. (I’m having a hard time trying to figure out if I like him or Justin [from the Maggie Quinn: Girl Vs. Evil series by the same author] better…)

Only complaints are the cover — I’m still not sure what a purple rose has to do with the book…Sylvie does some gardening, but other than that? And the overuse of Gigi (Sylvie’s dog) as a plot device.

Bottom line? Probably a YA book for older or more patient teens, but a welcome addition to public library collections.

SWAN catalog
Rosemary Clement-Moore




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