Friday, June 15, 2012

Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma

Make sure to check out this novel as Fade Out, newly updated and marketed as a YA novel!

Title: Dani Noir
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Aladdin
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Pages: 272 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: book trailer | author website

If this were a movie, you'd open to the first page of this book and be transported to a whole other world. Everything would be in black and white, except maybe for the girl in pink polka-dot tights, and this really great music would start to swell in the background. All of a sudden, you wouldn't be able to help it--you'd be a part of the story, you'd be totally sucked in. You'd be in this place, filled with big lies, mysterious secrets, and a tween girl turned sleuth....

Zoom in on thirteen-year-old Dani Callanzano. It's the summer before eighth grade, and Dani is stuck in her nothing-ever-happens town with only her favorite noir mysteries at the Little Art movie theater to keep her company.

But one day, a real-life mystery begins to unravel--at the Little Art! And it all has something to do with a girl in polka-dot tights.... Armed with a vivid imagination, a flair for the dramatic, and her knowledge of all things Rita Hayworth, Dani sets out to solve the mystery, and she learns more about herself than she ever thought she could


Typically, middle-grade isn't my genre. It never has been; even when I was a tween, I skipped right over middle-grade books and went straight to YA. About a week ago, I went to the bookstore with the intent to buy Fade Out, which is Dani Noir updated and marketed as YA, but when the bookstore had no copies of Fade Out in stock but had multiple copies of Dani Noir on clearance priced at $3.97... Well, I left with Dani. Though the novel lacked the delicious creepiness that made me love the author's second novel Imaginary Girls, Dani Noir was fun in its own right and a great coming of age story.

Dani was a such a witty narrator and a great character too. Her problems and emotions felt so real, and I wished I could do away with all the pain she felt concerning her father cheating on her mother, leaving, and then deciding to marry the other woman. Dani wasn't perfect (she was extraodinarily selfish and I was happy to see her get called out for it), but she was someone I wanted to read about.The movie motif was a great choice because of how it illustrates Dani's dissatisfaction with real life. History has already shown people escape to the movies during tough times.

Though the novel is a bit of a mystery (who is the girl in the polka-dot tights? Is Jackson cheating on Elissa with her?), it's very easily solved and not that impressive. Then again, the novel isn't really about the mystery of the girl; it's about Dani. On a side note, it was a little strange reading about the love triangle through Dani's eyes. Because of my love of YA, I've gotten used to seeing love triangles where the narrator is one of the angles as the focus. In Dani Noir, it was like seeing the YA triangle through the younger friend/sibling of someone who is part of the triangle.

Not that I expected anything less than a great novel from one of my favorite authors. It's simpler than Imaginary Girls, but it's much easier to relate to and it's not quite as out-there. This makes waiting for the author's next novel, 17 and Gone, even more painful. Why does spring 2013 have to be so far away?!

4 stars!

What am I reading next?: So Close to You by Rachel Carter