I've already mentioned (over and over) how much I love the Kindle because it helps me discover new books. Several years ago, when I helped dear-old-dad buy Mom a Kindle I wasn't sure how she'd feel about the ad version, but she loves it. It's helped both of us discover new authors, Dina Silver being one of them.
I found One Pink Line via a Kindle ad and promptly downloaded the free preview. Within two pages I was hooked, impatiently waiting to download the rest (I wasn't linked to a wi-fi network at the time). I would never have guess this was Silver's first novel. The writing is tight, the story and characters engaging, and the ending beyond satisfying. Well, I guess it might not be the first book she's ever written, but it's her first published novel.
Silver's two main characters, Sydney and Grace, are mother and daughter narrating from two different spaces. Sydney from her youth and journey to motherhood, and Grace from the midst of teenage angst, trying to understand herself. Throughout Sydney's journey she remains likable, despite her stumbles. When Sydney encounters roadblocks and hardship, she puts on her big girl pants and powers through life. In the same way that I related the Julie in Flat Out Love I could relate to Sydney (minus the unplanned pregnancy). Even though Sydney's story takes place in the early nineties, Grace and her millennial struggles bring the book to the forefront of my memories from adolescence. Though Grace's story is not a huge part of the novel, her discovery of Sydney's past operates as a vehicle for the reader.
But Silver's best character is Ethan. Sydney meets Ethan at a high school graduation party in the novel's first chapter, and it is their relationship which is the most fulfilling. Ethan's unconditional and constant love for Sydney puts many other literary heroes to shame. Ethan, as well as the whole book, turned out to be so surprising. Immediately upon meeting him, and then his seemingly snooty family, I expected Ethan to turn in to a typical college boy and leave Sydney heartbroken at the end of their first summer together. But unlike other books about the young adult experience (cough, Prep, cough), One Pink Line set up a heroic male character in an unexpected setting. His steadfastness and pure heart provided a wonderful depth to Dina's story.
Dina Silver's novel makes for a quick, hearty read. I don't want the word "quick" to undercut the beauty of this book. There are few, if any, things I find lacking. The supporting characters who flesh out Sydney's family and friends are well-developed and warm. No plot point seems extraneous and the ending, while not totally unexpected, maintains a magic to it that makes me re-read the final chapter.
p.s. In Flat Out Love news: Jessica Park published a novella, entitled Flat Out Matt that occurs simultaneous to the original, only this time from Matt's perspective. If only Christmas weren't right around the corner . . . Mom? Are you reading this?