By the time this posts, it will have been many months since I read Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis (Random House - Knopf Books for Young Readers) and some weeks since I wrote this review, but probably only a few days since I last thought about the book.
Octavia and Tali are planning a nice summer in San Francisco. The thing is, their grandmother--she prefers "Mare"--who wears high heels and drives a fast car, wants road trip buddies for her trip to a family reunion in the southern U.S. The generation gap is a huge one, and the tensions between Mere and her granddaughters, and between Octavia and Tali, are the unwanted passengers riding along.
The soundtrack of the trip is Mare's stories about growing up: about the life she might have had and the one she left, about her complicated relationships with her own family, and about her stint in the Women's Army Corps during WWII, in the U.S. and in Europe.
I loved this book, and if you're wondering if a book about "grandma" could be YA-friendly, I assure you that it's fantastic. Mare is a firecracker of a character, and I don't think it's just my interest in WWI/WWII music that kept me turning pages throughout her scenes. I also was intrigued by the modern-day storyline, how the generations of women would figure out how to relate to one another, and the contrasts between how people mother, how sisters relate, and how each of the characters understands family make for a fascinating read on many levels. Mare was my favorite, though, and I could have read a whole book just about her.
This was one of the first e-books I bought, and it had the cover at the beginning of this post. There's an updated cover with a more realistic photo take on the girl in the helmet; unfortunately, that's not showing up in the Amazon results that allow you to link the image. I'll try, but I suspect there'll be nothing but a broken link here...