Saturday, May 16, 2009

"This was my family's story, and there was only one person who could tell me the truth."

I love debut fiction. Sometimes its the best work of that author but I think that it is often an indicator of authors who will be really great. It's almost like a promise. That's how I am feeling about Megan Frazer's debut, Secrets of Truth & Beauty, due out July 7, 2009: a promise of more great stories to come.

Dara Cohen is a junior in high school. It starts with one English assignment: create a multimedia presentation of your autobiography. When Dara uses footage from the pageant she was in (and won) when she was 7 and uses the audio of her mom and other stage parents as the voiceover, her world starts to fall apart. She is kicked out of school; she is fighting with her parents; and she decides to call her long-lost sister Rachel. When Dara leaves Maine to spend the summer with her sister in Vermont, she learns who she really is and what is truly important.

Dara is believable and likable. Ms. Frazer crafts a story that is not only about Dara but about society's perception and treatment of overweight people and the concept of body image. A quick read that makes you want to know about Dara, her sister and their family, both biological and the one of their own creation.

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