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Magan: Trinkets by Kirsten Smith

Book Cover for Trinkets by Kirsten SmithTrinkets by Kirsten Smith <website twitter>
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 288
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: shoplifting, unlikely friendships, cheating parent, alcoholic mother
Format read: ARC received via NetGalley (Thank you!)

Summary: Moe, Tabitha and Elodie are three girls very unlikely to ever form a friendship — that is, until they meet in a Shopaholics Anonymous meeting and bond over their one similarity: they’re all thieves.

 

Elodie, Moe, and Tabitha have one thing in common.

They’re shoplifters.

Aside from this (ginormous) fact, their lives couldn’t be more different. Elodie lives with her father and step-mother (whom she can’t stand) in Portland, where they’ve just relocated after her father’s remarriage and her mother’s death. She’s the new girl no one knows with one friend she doesn’t have much in common with. Moe and her older brother, Marc, live with their aunt who gained custody of them after their parents died when she was seven. Moe dyes her hair cherry-red and hangs out with a bunch of druggies. And then there’s Tabitha — the legendary popular girl who dates the boy everyone fawns over. But underneath her perfect exterior, she’s going crazy that her dad has endless affairs and how everyone (her mother, her friends, everyone) is always faking their way through life.

How do these three very different girls connect with one another? Through Shopaholics Anonymous.

Because they’re in such vulnerable positions and have to open up about their lives in SA, they let down their guards and speak truthfully and openly with one another about their home lives. (This is a big deal since none of their “BFFs” know any of this personal information.) While SA is supposed to lead them to understand why they want to steal and how to stop doing it, they band together and try to make the best steal after each meeting. Most weeks, after they’ve compared their loot, they spend time hanging out (in inconspicuous places where classmates won’t notice them together).

Tabitha, Elodie, and Moe’s stories are knitted together from each of their points of view. Elodie writes in verse, while Moe jots her entries down in a journal-like format, and Tabitha’s are more structured and formal. The different POVs move the story forward at a quick, enjoyable pace that makes the timing and new friendships seem plausible and realistic. One of the highlights is seeing three very outwardly different girls bond together, especially since many of their interior struggles are so much the same, each having faced abandonment or loss in some way.

The struggle is finding a way out of the cycle of their routine bad behavior. How do you stop doing something that fills the gap in your life? That makes you feel better? That gives you a high like nothing else? And what happens to this unlikely trio’s friendship when the twelve week program has come to an end?

Trinkets handles some pretty serious subject matter (death of a parent, a demanding boyfriend, remarriage, and scandalous affairs) in a manner that didn’t feel overwhelming, heavy, or overly dramatic. Smith maintained a light-hearted feel by placing the emphasis on friendship and letting the heavier issues play more of a secondary role. A huge takeaway for me was realizing that we all have “bad stuff” going on in our lives, but we can choose how we move forward and deal with those situations.

So the question is: does their unlikely friendship help these girls move past the negative circumstances in their lives or do they continue to be lured into thievery to seek attention? Guess you’ll just have to read it for yourself to find out!

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April 23, 2015 - 7:32 pm

Book Review: Trinkets by Kirsten Smith | Respiring Thoughts - […] that, in my opinion, deserves heaps more attention. Trinkets wasn’t even on my radar until I read Magan’s review and realized that it was exactly the kind of book I love. Next time I was at the bookstore, I […]

June 17, 2013 - 8:02 am

Book Review: Trinkets by Kirsten Smith - […] that, in my opinion, deserves heaps more attention. Trinkets wasn’t even on my radar until I read Magan’s review and realized that it was exactly the kind of book I love. Next time I was at the bookstore, I […]

March 12, 2013 - 5:54 pm

Book Birthdays: March 10th - 16th | Alice Marvels - […] Rather Be Reading “Trinkets handles some pretty serious subject matter (death of a parent, a demanding boyfrien… […]

March 8, 2013 - 2:46 pm

Renae @ Respiring Thoughts - Whoa! I hadn’t heard of this one before but I definitely need to consider it. I love the idea of a three-way narrative and how one common trait can bring people with opposite personalities together in some way. It’s such an interesting concept!

March 7, 2013 - 7:52 pm

Magan - Bookworm! I promise I didn’t mean to be a tease. No, SCRATCH THAT. I totally did. GO read it! It’s a good quick read! And yes — totally loving Sean Griswold’s Head! So glad to hear you loved it! 🙂

March 7, 2013 - 7:51 pm

Magan - Tara, I’m not sure that I had read a book like this before either, but the different styles wasn’t distracting to me at all. I really, really enjoyed the poetry which surprised me. Sometimes I get a little frustrated with poetry because it’s not well done, but I liked Elodie’s voice a lot. I hope you can find it at the library! 🙂

March 7, 2013 - 7:50 pm

Magan - Alexa, it really was. The timing and pacing went so smoothly and quickly. It felt like such a quick read, but not because it was a short book – -I just breezed through it! I hope you enjoy!

March 7, 2013 - 7:47 pm

Magan - Mandee! It was such a quick, fast-paced read. I’m sure you’d breeze through Trinkets. Definitely pick it up! The different POVs was nice. I really, really liked the poetry. That part was so well done.

March 7, 2013 - 3:56 pm

VeganYANerds - I love your final line, of course now I am intrigued to know whether the girls continue in their ways or whether they improve.

I really like the sound of the different POVs, too!

March 7, 2013 - 12:40 pm

Alexa Y. - I’m going to need to read this now, simply to find out what happens to the girls! I want to know if their friendship changed anything for them or not, and how all these things they face get resolved. It sounds like a very compelling story to me!

March 7, 2013 - 11:28 am

Tara - I don’t think I’ve ever read a book from different POVs and with different styles. Did that get distracting at all, or did it flow well? I would definitely snag this book at the library because it’s different but sounds really interesting.

March 7, 2013 - 9:27 am

Bookworm1858 - What a tease! Do the girls end their life of crime-inquiring minds want to know. I see you’re reading Sean Griswold’s Head and I really hope you’re enjoying it-it’s one of my favorite contemporary YA novels.

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