The Noah Confessions

The Noah Confessions

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by Barbara Hall

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At the age of 16, it's standard procedure for every girl at Lynnie Russo's posh Los Angeles prep school to get a car. So on her 16th birthday, Lynnie is startled when she opens the small gift box from her father—it doesn't contain the shiny new set of keys she was expecting. Instead she finds a worn-out bird charm bracelet. What can he be thinking? When she

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At the age of 16, it's standard procedure for every girl at Lynnie Russo's posh Los Angeles prep school to get a car. So on her 16th birthday, Lynnie is startled when she opens the small gift box from her father—it doesn't contain the shiny new set of keys she was expecting. Instead she finds a worn-out bird charm bracelet. What can he be thinking? When she cuts school to go try surfing so as to have a special day, instead of grounding her, her father hands her a manuscript box and says, "Your mother wanted you to have this when it seemed you were losing perspective. I think now's the time."

Through "The Noah Confessions," Lynnie uncovers her family's secrets, loves, and tragedies, and comes to recognize that their past may not necessarily determine her future.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This novel will grab readers’ attention with the promise of mysterious revelations.”—School Library Journal
Publishers Weekly

Part murder mystery, part family drama, this fast-paced read is the eighth novel by the creator of the now defunct TV series Joan of Arcadia. For her 16th birthday, Lynnie Russo assumed she'd receive a car, like all the girls at her snooty Los Angeles prep school. So when her father gives her one of her dead mother's charm bracelets along with a mysterious letter she had written to a man named "Noah" when she was 16 herself, Lynnie is shocked-and sorely disappointed. But she soon realizes that there is more to the gift-and to her family's history-than she could have imagined. Soon Lynnie discovers that "Noah" is really her father, and as she reads more of her mother's letter, she is confronted with a grotesque secret: "My grandfather was a murderer. He killed a girl with his bare hands. My mother saw it. She never told anyone. Except Noah." Hall's knack for spinning a suspenseful tale is evident; she ably uses both the letter and an extended flashback from Lynnie's father's perspective as tools to delve into Lynnie's psyche and showcase her vulnerability. A few scenes verge on the overly campy (including a dream sequence involving Lynnie and her deceased mother), but readers will gladly gloss over them to get to the good stuff. Ages 12-up. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
KLIATT - Myrna Marler
Lynnie Russo is turning 16 and she is supposed to get a car. Instead, her father hands her an ugly bird charm bracelet from her mother, who was killed in a car wreck eight years before. Lynnie doesn't understand. So she takes the day off and goes surfing for the first time. She also talks to her mother in the cemetery, which gives her the opportunity to meet a cute boy. Her father next gives Lynnie a long letter written by her mother to someone named Noah in which she reveals the traumas of her past. All this new knowledge sends Lynnie into a tailspin and she winds up in the hospital with time to Think Things Over. The book jacket copy describes this book as "a richly textured coming of age novel." Maybe so. But it also is a story within a story and another story within a story, and genealogy similar to that in the Book of Matthew is given. Also, there sure is a lot of insanity on both sides of the family. That revelation alone should set Lynnie's mind awhirl, but she is actually concerned with a different feature of her mother's past. The question becomes: is she supposed to regard her mother as a saint or a sinner? And, how does that matter to her and who she wants to be? The storytelling is quite engaging. Much of the dialogue is witty. But, so many questions raised by the novel are left hanging. For instance, why were Noah's mother and sister so nuts? If students don't mind unanswered questions, then they should like this character and her dilemma.
Kirkus Reviews
Letters detailing her deceased mother's shocking past prod a teenage girl to learn more of her family's dark history. Instead of the VW Bug she craved for her 16th birthday, Lynnie Russo received a series of letters written by her mother when she was a teenager, all addressed to a mysterious Noah. In the pages, Lynnie learns her family's tumultuous story, culminating with the revelation that her grandfather strangled a young woman in front of her mother. Revealing his own involvement with the murder, Lynnie's father unwittingly drives her towards a near-death experience, which results in a final mother-daughter confrontation. Hall effectively juxtaposes character traits: Lynnie is both confident teen and insecure girl, while her father moves from overprotective to nurturing within a moment. The mature voice in the letters reflects both tragic events and a trying home life, but a contemporary flavor taints the reminiscences. Though it covers no new ground, both the easygoing narrative and the solid characters provide a pleasant read. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
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Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Does the name Barbara Hall sound familiar? It does to me because she has written and produced a number of my favorite TV shows - Judging Amy, Chicago Hope, and Joan of Arcadia. I knew she had also written some books, but I hadn't read any. THE NOAH CONFESSIONS caught my eye at the bookstore, and then I saw her name and snatched it up pronto!

Lynnie Russo doesn't remember much about her mom, but she's about to learn way more than she ever thought there was to know. Her mom died in what everyone refers to as a "bad car wreck." Having a dead mom puts Lynnie in a special category at her private L.A. prep school. Everyone there is known for something, and this is Lynnie's "something."

A sixteenth birthday in Lynnie's neighborhood means a new car. Lynnie's expectations are not necessarily new, maybe a modest used VW, but definitely a car. Surprise! Her dad hands her a small box. Car keys? Nope, just a cheap looking charm bracelet with birds on it. You've got to be kidding. Where's the car? Dad says there isn't one.

There is something else though. Lynnie's dad also gives her a manuscript. It is a letter written by her mother back when she was fifteen, almost sixteen. It is supposed to explain her mother's life. All Lynnie knows as she begins to read the lengthy letter to some mysterious Noah person; it is not a car.

Barbara Hall takes readers on a journey with Lynnie as she discovers a huge secret about her mother's life. Imagine thinking you know the people who have surrounded you for your entire life only to discover a whole other world full of secrets. THE NOAH CONFESSIONS will suck you in before the end of the first chapter.