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When sixteen-year-old Lark Austin is kidnapped from her Virginia hometown and left to die in a snowy forest, she leaves behind two friends who are stunned by the loss. As Lark's former best friend, Eve can't shake the guilt that this tragedy was somehow her fault. Meanwhile, Nyetta is haunted each night by Lark's ghost, who comes through the bedroom window and begs Nyetta to set her soul free. Eve and Nyetta realize that Lark is trapped in limbo, and only by coming together to ...
When sixteen-year-old Lark Austin is kidnapped from her Virginia hometown and left to die in a snowy forest, she leaves behind two friends who are stunned by the loss. As Lark's former best friend, Eve can't shake the guilt that this tragedy was somehow her fault. Meanwhile, Nyetta is haunted each night by Lark's ghost, who comes through the bedroom window and begs Nyetta to set her soul free. Eve and Nyetta realize that Lark is trapped in limbo, and only by coming together to heal themselves will they discover why.
Tracey Porter's stunning narrative about love and loss demonstrates that forgiveness can never come too late.
After the rape and murder of a suburban 16-year-old, two girls learn to cope in a world that stubbornly insists on continuing without her.
Lark is a gymnast, diver and stellar student, until one January day she's kidnapped from her Arlington, Va., school. Her body is found naked, beaten and stabbed in the snowy woods. Over the next few months, the children and adults of Arlington recover—or fail to recover—from Lark's death. Interleaved chapters provide three points of view: Eve, who was Lark's childhood friend until a devastating experience of her own led to Eve's personality shift in middle school; Nyetta, whose parents are going through a messy divorce and who thought Lark was the best babysitter ever; and Lark herself, who recaps the rape and murder in gutwrenching ghostly interludes. Lark's ghost is haunting Nyetta in an attempt to get someone, anyone, to look directly at the damage done by the murderer. It's no easy task: This is a town where grief counselors teach girls that avoiding assault is a matter of how they dress, move and walk. It's a town where a mother doesn't take her daughter's assault seriously because there hasn't been penetrative sex. Nyetta and Eve will only be able to move past Lark's death if they face its most devastating truths.
Harrowing. (Fiction. 13 & up)
Posted April 5, 2013
Posted December 6, 2012
I've started the summer by tackling my "Oh, this book looks small; I should be able to finish it quickly!" pile. Lark was a good way to start that pile.
I don't often read books like Lark; this one came in the mail and seeing as it was coming out soon at the time I was looking at it, I figured I'd read it. I actually sat down and read it in one sitting.
Though not my typical kind of book, I rather enjoyed it; it's got a lot of good things going for it. The length, of course, was what attracted me to it in the first place, but don't look at the summary of the book and think that it can't handle the material in such a short time. Porter does a rather fantastic job at getting into the heads of the two girls (and Lark) and showing the story. She manages to get details without making the book longer than it has to be.
That's another thing I thought was interesting; we get three points of view (Eve, Nyetta, and Lark) and normally I don't like that. In this case, it was handled really well - we get glimpses into each of their lives and just enough details to let you connect to them and feel for them a little bit without so much as to feel as if one story should have more details than the others.
All in all, I thought it was a really good book; it was a great book to kick off my summer reads with, and I'm looking forward to reading more by Tracey Porter.
Posted May 25, 2011
One chilly day while waiting for her father to pick her up from gymnastics practice sixteen year-old Lark is abducted, stabbed, sexually assaulted, and left to die tied to a tree in the nearby woods. This book is a haunting tale about three girls and their struggles to come to terms with a horrific event. Nyetta a twelve year old who remembers fondly the times when Lark was her babysitter. Eve, Lark's former best friend, who has dark secrets of her own that created a wedge between her and Lark. And finally Lark herself, who needs her story told.
Almost every review I read for this short book compared it to Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. Now that I have finished Lark I can see why that comparison was made. Much of the book is similar to that story, but this one doesn't quite have the heft, or even the emotional punch of The Lovely Bones. With the exception of the rape scene, I might even call this book a toned down version or even a cliff notes version of The Lovely Bones.
The story alternates between three characters, Lark, Nyetta, and Eve. All three are scarred and attempting to heal from the hardships in their lives. While their stories are convincingly told, you never have any emotional connection to the characters. There is a disconnect somewhere, and you never have any real emotional investment in this novel.
Lark also presents an interesting, if not a little confusing, mythology about murdered girls turning into trees. While this adds a whole new type of paranormal aspect to the story, it also leaves you wondering what is real and what isn't. Is Nyetta telling the truth or is she crazy. Thankfully, this question is resolved, but at first it just felt a little awkward.
That said, Porter is a talented writer, and does a superb job of writing a harrowing tale and telling it in such a short number of pages. I read this book in one sitting and just flew through the pages. Lark captures your attention from the first page and holds it to the very last. You want to know what happens to these characters. Porter's prose is pleasantly descriptive without going overboard or meandering onto other topics the way so many novels have of late. This is a tightly written exquisite piece of literature that will keep the reader hooked.
Overall, while lacking the emotional punch of The Lovely Bones this novel does offer a well written and interesting story. One that will keep the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next. I look forward to reading more from Porter in the future.
Cautions for sensitive readers: This book, while marketed to teens is definitely one that should be reserved for mature teen readers. The scenes of the rape are quite explicit and could be disturbing to the unprepared.
Posted January 15, 2012
No text was provided for this review.