The Queen of Everything

The Queen of Everything

3.8 40
by Deb Caletti
     
 

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People ask me all the time what having Vince MacKenzie for a father was like. What they mean is, was he always crazy?

High school junior Jordan MacKenzie's life was pretty typical: fractured family, new boyfriend, dead-end job. She'd been living with her father (the predictable optometrist) since her mother (the hippie holdover) had become too

Overview

People ask me all the time what having Vince MacKenzie for a father was like. What they mean is, was he always crazy?

High school junior Jordan MacKenzie's life was pretty typical: fractured family, new boyfriend, dead-end job. She'd been living with her father (the predictable optometrist) since her mother (the hippie holdover) had become too embarrassing to be around. Jordan felt that she finally had as normal a life as she could. Then came Gayle D'Angelo.

Jordan knew her father was dating Gayle and that Gayle was married. Jordan knew it was wrong and that her father was becoming someone she didn't recognize anymore, but what could she do about it? And how could she -- how could anyone -- have possibly guessed that this illicit love affair would implode in such a violent and disturbing way?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The normally stable father of high school junior Jordan becomes involved with a married woman, then kills someone. Told as a flashback through Jordan's first-person narrative (although Jordan does not reveal at the beginning who dies), the novel takes place during the summer on a fictional island in western Washington. Debut YA novelist Caletti peoples Jordan's world with fascinating characters, including a hippie mother who runs a bed and breakfast with her kinetic artist husband, and her best friend, status-focused Melissa, who works with Jordan at a weight loss center run by an eccentric Christian couple. Jordan herself can be funny, making light of her situation with caustic remarks ("He was an optometrist for God's sake" she says when people ask her what her murderous father was like), and also vulnerable ("That's not what people want to hear-that my father was just a normal guy whom I loved, love, with all my heart") as she leads readers carefully towards her eventual realization of her own identity. She also weaves in pieces of advice she's picked up from Big Mama, a wise, warm-hearted fishery worker who often incorporates salmon into her lessons. Two subplots involving Jordan's romantic interests create unnecessary distractions, but captivating details make this scandalous story seem all too real, and Jordan's magnetic voice marks Caletti as a writer to watch. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
VOYA
Narrator Jordan manages to capture both the ennui and the angst of adolescence in this novel. Throughout, she maintains a distance from the story while relating tragic, emotional events. Jordan's father is in jail for the murder of his lover's wife-a fact that the reader will discover within the first few pages. As Jordan tells the story of her summer, it evolves into more than just a narration of the fateful event. It is a tale of a mother and daughter so alike and so different that they cannot get along, of a relationship that exists because it is easier than saying no, and of loving someone of whom your friends will not approve. Perhaps that is why the reader struggles to be fully captured by the story-there is too much of Jordan's life crowding the plot line. The narrative distance might work for some readers as a commentary on Jordan's summer experiences or as the ultimate teenage boredom. Each plot element certainly holds popular appeal. Nonetheless, the book slows down in the middle, forcing the reader to soldier on until end, despite a death, a murder, and running away. This book is a quiet one, approaching events with a cool remove that leaves the reader on the outside looking in. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P S (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2002, Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster, 384p,
— Mary Ann Harlan
Children's Literature
For realistic fiction fans, seventeen-year old Jordan Mackenzie offers an honest, poignant portrayal of life taking unexpected twists. Like many teenagers, Jordan craves stability and normalcy. She finds this in her father, a down-to-earth optometrist, who can be counted on to be home for dinner. However, life changes when rich, sophisticated Beverly D'Angelo steps onto the scene. At first Jordan does not believe her father capable of an illicit affair, but as the relationship unfolds, Jordan realizes he might be capable of even worse. Reeling with this knowledge, Jordan must readjust her vision of the world. The first person voice and simple sentence structure give the book a fast-paced feel, but never compromise detail and depth of character. Written with adult language and straightforward sexual scenes, the book is intended for mature audiences. 2002, Simon Pulse,
— Michelle Taylor
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-From the beginning of this absorbing novel, readers know that Jordan's father will kill the husband of the woman with whom he's having an affair. The tone of the story, however, is unexpectedly light as Caletti introduces the teen's free-spirited mother, ultra-religious boss, colorful neighbors, and optometrist father. Caught up in her own romantic dilemma-choosing between a cruel but good-looking classmate and the quirky, caring brother of her best friend-Jordan is slow to realize that her father is having an affair with glamorous Gayle D'Angelo. In the last 100 pages, she must come to terms with what her father has done and find a way to rebuild her own life. Most of the novel, however, deals with her day-to-day life, friendships, and family relationships. Caletti lovingly describes the setting, a small town on the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound, and Jordan's several adult mentors are well developed as characters. Her own poor choices at times run parallel to her father's, as she dates and has a disastrous sexual encounter with a boy she knows is bad news before finally wising up. Through it all, she manages to observe the people around her with love and amusement. Teens will gain insight into how obsessive love can drive even ordinary-seeming individuals to commit terrible acts.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Alternating between pithy humor and ominous foreboding, high-school junior Jordan MacKenzie’s voice describes her life, family, and friends in this gothic with an edge. The edge is from her own witty commentary on life on Parrish Island, an imaginary community located off the coast of Washington State in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The bringing together of sadness and foreboding with humor is reminiscent of Elvin in Chris Lynch’s Slot Machine (1995) although Jordan appears to be less intentionally working at being funny. It is simply her take on life: her values, her awareness of pretensions, oddities, and incongruencies. The characters leap to life (including the dogs), as Jordan details the daily events that inexorably lead first to tragic events, and ultimately to a rescue of a sort. Threading throughout is the awareness that horror is ahead. When it does arrive, it doesn’t quite seem as ghastly as expected. Most of the plot is driven by actions of the adults in the story, but when Jordan chooses to act, she’s obviously learned a trick or two about manipulation and getting what you want. She’s chosen to live with her father as the more normal one of her parents, but he becomes obsessed with a married woman and Jordan’s life spirals out of control. While not the focus, her own first miserable experiences with sex and the death of a grandparent are encompassed in this somewhat long, but nonetheless fast-paced debut. Humor gets little respect, but Caletti expertly succeeds in capturing the way a smart teen can grasp and skewer her world and what passes for everyday normal in a wry tone that never fails to recognize the seriousness of the situation. Cosmic comedy. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
"Captivating details make this scandalous story seem all too real."

Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Debut YA novelist Caletti peoples Jordan's world with fascinating characters...Jordan's magnetic voice marks Caletti as a writer to watch."

Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The book unfolds the drama slowly and suspensefully, creating an everyday teen world that's perceptive, funny, and nuanced in its own right..."

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"Gothic with an edge...The characters leap to life...Caletti expertly succeeds in capturing the way a smart teen can grasp and skewer her world..."

Kirkus Reviews

"Entertaining, atmospheric...Jordan's authentic teenage voice...will hold readers, as will the emotional issues...."

Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743443845
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Publication date:
05/11/2010
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
803,609
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

People ask me all the time what having Vince MacKenzie for a father was like. What they mean is, was he always crazy?

High school junior Jordan MacKenzie's life was pretty typical: fractured family, new boyfriend, dead-end job. She'd been living with her father (the predictable optometrist) since her mother (the hippie holdover) had been too embarrassing to be around. Jordan felt like she finally had as normal a life as she could. But then came Gayle D'Angelo.

Jordan knew her father was dating Gayle, and that Gayle was married. Jordan knew it was wrong, and that her father was becoming someone she didn't recognize anymore, but what could she do about it? And how could she -- how could anyone -- have possibly guessed that this illicit love affair would implode in such a violent and disturbing way?

Meet the Author

Deb Caletti is an award-winning author and National Book Award finalist. Her many books for young adults include Stay; The Nature of Jade; and Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, winner of the Washington State Book Award and the PNBA Best Book Award, and a finalist for the PEN USA Award. Her books for adults include He’s Gone and her latest release, The Secrets She Keeps. She lives with her family in Seattle.

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Queen of Everything 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
I really did love this book. So, to clarify, I would rate it 4.5 stars if I could. It's about Jordan, an average teenager with divorced parents. She lives with her father, a predictable optometrist because her mother is too eccentric for her tastes. Her summer after her junior year was off to a normal start- a best friend, dumb job, and a new love interest- but then came Gayle D'Angelo. Gayle D'Angelo is her father's new girlfriend.....who happens to be married. But Jordan's father no longer listens to reason as he becomes more and more obsessed with Gayle. Jordan's normal summer ends up having an explosive ending. I loved the writing. Seriously, it was great. Deb Caletti's writing is so detailed and intricate, she brings tiny details to mind that only contribute to overall story and character development. The plot was slowish, but you know from page one that something horribly violent will happen. First off, because the narrator tell you, and also because its terribly hinted at and you would have to be stupid not to get it. Still, there was something tense about this book. While it wasn't thrilling, it was gripping. I think the best part of the book was easily the writing. The main characters, especially Jordan, were well-drawn. It was like they were real people. The minor characters also had the same flair, but had less screen time. The thing about such interesting characters, is that you actually want to see them. But in the story, they just popped in and out, quick as a flash. Like Big Mama. I wanted to see more of her. And Jackson. I would have loved to see that budding romance. Jordan was a real teenager. She wasn't some saint girl. She wasn't a rebel without a cause. She took notice of the world, and messed up a lot, and was likable. One of her mistakes was Kale. I hated Kale. He is the King of Douches. I wanted to crawl into the book and pop him one. I just didn't understand why Jordan still kept going out with him even though she clearly couldn't tolerate him. It just made me frustrated. I guess that makes the mark of a real character, though. Overall, I really liked this book. Everytime I read a Deb Caletti book, they just keep getting better and better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. This is a book you truely can't put down once you start. The way Deb Caletti makes her character Jordan, you can really feel your-self as her. I can see things through Jordan's eyes. Which is a great way to read a book, is to feel your self as the character your self.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book. It is so exciting and wonderful. Ms. Caletti has an amazing way of putting Jordan's thoughts into perspective. Amazing and I would reccomend it to anyone.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the back of Wild Roses by Deb Calletti and wanted to read it but someone had had it out at my school library already so I decided to read Queen of Everything by her because it looked interesting too. I enjoyed the book a lot. It wasn't what I was expecting at all but in a good way. Overal it was a good book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i have two words for this book and those are- amazingly written!!!!!:'
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome. Its a little slow a first but at the same time it sucks you in and gets u into the book. The author set the story up so you would think you knew what was going on but at the same time you had no clue. Its was beautifully writen, and an awesome read!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really amazing. It has its slow points of course but really if everyone put down a book when it got a little boring than noone would be reading anything, right? Right.. well this book really got you into the characters minds. As Jordan struggles with the fact that her father is slipping away and she has to go through all of those embarrassing things that teens go through. This is a must read, i promise you it's carefully constructed and this book does have it's 'slow' points but in the end it all fits in and has an amazing ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is 1 of my favortes you never lose intrest because somthing is always going on and to every event comes a twist. the main charcter (jorden) is a normal teenager until her father meets Gale D' Angelo.Her father is crazy for her so much that he loses his mind (not literly).Jordens life is changed forever.All in All her life is a liveing hell but wait till the end youll be surprised
Guest More than 1 year ago
People who thought this was slow should go back to graphic novels and Gossip Girl!!! This was an amazing book, and Deb Caletti showed every character as true people. I felt like I was living it and they were people I knew. It also made me think about what she was going through and many things afterward instead of just putting it down and moving on. It stayed with me, and I loved Jackson!!! Read it, you won't regret it, even if it is not a thin book about girls and guys on the beach.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the most boaring and pointless story ever!!! Nothing happens....u can seriouly cut out 100 pgs and not miss one thing!! It was a huge waste of time to even open it. The story goes no where and u wait and wait for something to happen and it never does. I couldn't even finish it. This author should consider some new and improved material. FAST. I am warning u.....this book is awful!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i have only read upto chapter 4 but it is soo borring i cant read any more of it b/c its so borring! i dont recomend this book to anyone!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best books I have ever read! You can really relate to the characters in the story and the author makes you feel like your living the life of the main character. Jordan who just happens to be the main character dislikes her mother and stepdad(she thinks they are weird), she is in love with her best friends known to be crazy brother, oh yeah and she lives with her dad who she thought was normal, but it turns out he is having an affair with a married lady and will go to all costs to get her... This book is so suspensful and leads the life of an everyday teenager. She encounters many problems and has to learn to face them. I could really relate to her. Other than the dad having an affair with the married lady part I mean. It's an absolute must read. The author(Deb Caletti) really leaves you wanting to read more with each chapter that you read. I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is not good at all it doesn't really have a plot and it is really hard to follow and it never really did cacth my attention I think the book is not explianed at all and is not worth the read of 345 pages or so! Jordan the Main Characther is kind of weird with her thinking
Guest More than 1 year ago
I sometimes didn't understand the way Jordan thought in the book. But it was okay. It's one of those books you have to be in the mood to read. I've started reading it like 3 times and stopped reading it b/c I thought it was boring but I finally finished it. But overall the book was okay.