Monday, February 24, 2014

TWIGS by Alison Ashley Formento

TwigsMadeline Henry has been known as Twigs since her older brother gave her the name shortly after her premature birth.  When her tiny little arms and legs were described as twigs, he latched onto the name and it stuck.

Twigs is now eighteen and in a few short weeks she'll be starting college at the local community college.  She succeeded in making it through high school and worked hard at the Uptown Pharmacy to earn the tuition to attend Hinkney Community College all on her own.  Her drunken father left the family some time ago.  Her mother has gone through a string of one night stands and is now involved with a deaf guy she met at the school for the deaf where she works.  Twigs' little sister is a cheerleader more interested in having the right color of nail polish for her toenails than she is in what's going on in the family.  Their older brother Matt is in Iraq and usually manages to send an email home once a week, but Twigs begins to worry when she realizes they haven't heard from him in two weeks.

As the story opens, everything seems to be a crazy mess for Twigs.  She is faced with an insane customer at Uptown Pharmacy.  The woman is crying hysterically in the hair dye aisle, and when Twigs attempts to offer her help, the woman hurls an open bottle of hair dye in Twigs' direction.  The dye splatters everywhere including all over Twigs' own hair.  Even more strange, the woman heads to the register where she makes a small purchase and uses a credit card she says is her husband's to pay and insists that Twigs credit the purchase for $1000.  What Twigs doesn't know is that she will soon meet up with the woman again only to become mixed up in the nasty end of the woman's marriage.

When it comes to life at home, Twigs feels totally ignored.  Her mother is focused on the new man in her life, and her sister is involved with a giant black, football player with a strong belief in the power of God.  Twigs tries to stay out of their way and focus on work and getting ready for college, but when a late night knock at the door promises to bring bad news about her brother Matt, Twigs can't handle the possibility that he might be dead and she takes off. 

Between the crazy lady from the pharmacy, her fears for her brother, her boyfriend already off at college, her absent father, and her neglectful mother, Twigs is pretty sure the world is out to make life as difficult as possible.  Can she survive despite the odds set against her?  Or should she just give up now?

In her debut novel author Alison Ashley Formento creates a character that will capture the hearts of her readers.  I immediately fell in love with Twigs and cheered for her until the very last page.  Her resilience and determination were so positive and refreshing that I'm sure she will stay with me long after I completed the final chapter.  I look forward to what Formento offers her readers next.

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