Mistik Lake by Martha Brooks is about a Canadian teenage girl who is trying to cope with a myriad of issues. One of Odella’s parents struggles with alcoholism and abandons the family. Odella, the oldest of her siblings, tries to maintain order for the rest of her household while also dealing with the typical trials of the teenage years.
While I did enjoy certain aspects of the story, particularly the discussions on the characters’ Icelandic heritage, I’m afraid this book suffers from what I call ‘everything AND the kitchen sink’ syndrome. With themes of guilt, identity, alcoholism, abandonment, and h*mos*xu*ality — just to name a few, this book just had too much going on with the story in order for it not to feel a bit contrived. I just really believe that young adult novels, particularly short ones, are more effective when they deal with only one or two major issues. That is probably just a personal preference, though. Your mileage may vary.
2007, 224 pp.