Girl Spoken For by Suzie T. Roos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Girl Spoken For is the beginning of a new YA trilogy by Suzie T. Roos that I was granted an early release copy of from Netgalley. I have to admit that I was intrigued by the title of this book. It is what drew me to it and of course the blurb on the back cemented my desire to read this book. I kept going back and looking at the cover and trying to determine what about it kept drawing my attention. Even as I read it I kept going back to it. I finally figured it out after I finished the book and went back to the cover and stared at it like I do pictures in a museum. I won't give it away in case someone else had the same thing happen to them. It is a great cover but something that made me question what it means.
Girl Spoken For is told from the point of view of a 15/16 year old teen in the 10th grade, Tatum. It chronicles her daily life and how she ends up "spoken for" by the grandson of a mob boss. It also gives an in depth portrayal of how the normal trials of being a teen affect her. But, there are also some things most of us wish were not trials for a teen that she experiences that we watch her handle. These trials would shake up most adults so experiencing them with Tatum really draws you into the story. One of the best parts of Girl Spoken For is her inner dialogues as she reflects on conversations and events. I always reflect on events and conversations in my life and wondered if others had these same inner dialogues and even used to put them on paper until they were discovered by someone I wished had not discovered them because taken out of context most of our reflections might seem negative when read by the person who they are about even when they are not meant to be negative. Sometimes Tatum's thoughts spilled out on her friends and I was surprised and delighted by her friends' responses which reflected on how much they really cared for an understood her and her situation.
Tatum is extremely complex and I have to admit that I fell in love with her little sister, 6 year old Toni, and her responses to meeting Tatum's friends. She is so vibrant and innocent and there is this contrast I saw where Tatum also started with that same innocence and light until she starts experiencing some negative events. But, in school as she is internally dealing with these events her friends still were drawn to her and missing her light. We also see how a teenage girl goes through a relationship with her mother and those of us that had a contentious relationship with our mothers as teens can see from the outside how this might have looked and it was spot on. You hope that she comes out of it knowing that a lot of this is the teen not understanding the mother's role and just the conflict because the mother is the disciplinarian and the person guiding them through what they know a teenage girl can go through even if all they are doing is worrying because of their past experiences. Teens tend to see this as dislike by the parent when it is concern and the desire to protect. We also experience Tatum's thoughts and processing of her relationship with Zach. It was at times comical and at other times we cheered it on because of how much he cared for and protected her. You also worry about it because of his family. We only get a cursory glance at the structure and politics of his family towards the end of this part of the story which means I cannot wait for the next book and have already jumped on the author's website to see what I could learn about what was coming. Happy to see the next book, Girl Divided Two is coming soon.