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Monday, March 1, 2010

Crystal Lies by Melody Carlson

Glennis' life is falling apart. She has just moved into an apartment after leaving Geoffrey, her husband of twenty-five years. Then she discovers that her nearly-adult son Jacob has been getting into trouble and is illegally using an unknown drug. He keeps saying he will change, but the same things keep happening. On top of this, Glennis' older daughter Shelly resents her for leaving Geoffrey. While riding a roller coaster with Jacob, she does not realize that she has to let him go and show him tough love if she ever expects him to change. No matter how much Jacob promises her, she has to love and let go before anything changes.

Let me start out by saying that Glennis is one of the better leads Melody Carlson has ever crafted. She is reminiscent of a Lisa Samson lead because of her spastic decisions. She is highly imperfect, as are all of the other characters in this book. Several characters that Glennis thinks are perfect turn out to have some major flaws in the end. The plot is all about wrong choices made by Glennis, Geoffrey, and ultimately Jacob, and how those choices effect other people. Melody has mastered this plot structure and knows how to keep perfect mentors out of the picture while teaching the readers something.

With these types of "everything-goes-wrong" plots, authors must be careful not to make the situations too dramatic and sensational and how to not meddle with an original end. Melody does a very good job at not letting things get too out of hand, staying away from unnecessary drama. She keeps everything down to earth and realistic. She also does a fairly good job of not making things work out in the end, yet ends are not Melody's strength. She fell short of the original end and settled for the appropriate end. However, only one situation is completely resolved, and it is done so in a realistic manner.

Crystal Lies is definitely better than her more popular book, Finding Alice, but Melody seems to settle for simple ends rather than letting the book live up to its full potential. This is not a bad thing however, because she is trying harder than most authors on the market are.

Melody is definitely an author that is not to be ignored because of her superb character development and realistic ends. I expect more good things from her in the future.

4 stars

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