Strings Attached

( 14 )

Overview

From National Book Award winner Judy Blundell, the tale of a sixteen-year-old girl caught in a mix of love, mystery, Broadway glamour, and Mob retribution in 1950 New York.

When Kit Corrigan arrives in New York City, she doesn't have much. She's fled from her family in Providence, Rhode Island, and she's broken off her tempestuous relationship with a boy named Billy, who's enlisted in the army.

The city doesn't exactly welcome her with open ...

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Strings Attached

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Overview

From National Book Award winner Judy Blundell, the tale of a sixteen-year-old girl caught in a mix of love, mystery, Broadway glamour, and Mob retribution in 1950 New York.

When Kit Corrigan arrives in New York City, she doesn't have much. She's fled from her family in Providence, Rhode Island, and she's broken off her tempestuous relationship with a boy named Billy, who's enlisted in the army.

The city doesn't exactly welcome her with open arms. She gets a bit part as a chorus girl in a Broadway show, but she knows that's not going to last very long. She needs help--and then it comes, from an unexpected source.

Nate Benedict is Billy's father. He's also a lawyer involved in the mob. He makes Kit a deal--he'll give her an apartment and introduce her to a new crowd. All she has to do is keep him informed about Billy . . . and maybe do him a favor every now and then.

As she did in her National Book Award-winning What I Saw and How I Lied, Judy Blundell traps readers in a web of love, deceit, intrigue, and murder. The result? One stunner of a novel.

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  • Strings Attached
    Strings Attached  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The New York City mobster scene during the 1950s is vibrantly brought to life in this saga of a poor dancer who pays a high price for the breaks she gets. When the story opens, 17-year-old Kit Corrigan has left her Providence, R.I., family for the lights of Broadway and still has mixed feelings about her hotheaded ex-boyfriend, Billy, who has since joined the army. Then Kit receives an offer she can't refuse: become a snoop for Billy's gangster father in exchange for a much-needed Manhattan apartment and a nightclub gig. Kit almost immediately regrets her decision but is unable to prevent a future tainted by heartache, deception, and murder. Past tragedies suffered by Kit and her Irish-American family are artfully woven into the plot; if the book is a little slow-moving at first, National Book Award–winner Blundell (What I Saw and How I Lied) successfully constructs a complex web of intrigue that connects characters in unexpected ways. History and theater buffs will especially appreciate her attention to detail—Blundell again demonstrates she can turn out first-rate historical fiction. Ages 13–up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Danielle Williams
Kathleen (Kit) Corrigan knew from the time she was nine years old that she wanted to be a performer. But the reality of living and working in New York is far different from her dreams and plans. Her situation only becomes more confusing when Nate Benedict, her ex-boyfriend's father, offers Kit the use of an apartment and a chance at a better job at a well-known club. Kit is hesitant to accept, but does accept in the end and comes to regret it. Benedict claims he only wants to receive updates on his son and give Kit and his son a chance to start on a life together, but Benedict is tied to the mob and asks Kit to spy on people that attend the club where Kit dances. Set in 1950 and told in the first person from Kit's perspective, the narrative leaps from current events to memories from Kit's past. The story comes to life through Kit's descriptions and it is very difficult to put down. There are dark themes throughout the book, but mature readers will find themselves anxious to reach the very satisfying conclusion. Reviewer: Danielle Williams
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—November 1950 in New York City: a time and place in which everything changes for Kit Corrigan. After dropping out of high school in Providence to pursue dancing and acting, a breakup with Billy Benedict, a college boy and the son of a powerful mob lawyer, propels her to the Big Apple. A fraternal triplet whose mother died in childbirth, Kit has been raised by a working-class father with the sometime help of his sister, Delia. Her brother, Jamie, and Billy have enlisted in the Korean War. In New York, Kit's talent and gorgeous red hair help land her in the chorus of a quick-to-close Broadway show. Her money is disappearing when Mr. Benedict shows up to dangle a carrot she can't ignore: a cozy apartment and an audition to be a Lido Doll. Is it so much just to tell him when she hears from Billy, help with the occasional package, and chat with certain men who frequent the Lido? Goings-on at the club get increasingly sinister, Kit's neighbors are being persecuted as Reds, and somehow Aunt Delia's disappearance is linked to the teen's current New York life. Evoking the glamour, grit, and gusto of the era, Blundell has produced a compelling narrative with well-crafted characters who bring different ambitions, fears, and memories toward tragic collisions. Circling back and forth through the years of Kit's life, readers dip into her Great Depression childhood, her family's bootlegging past, and the stark revelations of the adult world.—Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA
Kirkus Reviews
Caught up in dreams of dancing on Broadway, Kit Corrigan unwisely accepts an apartment and a nightclub job from mob lawyer Nate Benedict in exchange for keeping tabs on his son Billy, who's enlisted in the Army along with Kit's brother, Jamie. Kit broke off her relationship with Billy after his last jealousy-fueled outburst. Nate starts calling in favors, and Kit becomes entangled in a web of secrets and lies. Like her Aunt Delia before her, she came to New York to escape a suffocating life in Providence and what Jamie calls "the Irish form of advancement—you don't dare do better than those before you." Kit's father had scraped together a living off the novelty of his motherless triplets, the Corrigan Three, in a home with psychic and emotional "undertows, things we didn't understand, and jokes and stories passing for truth." Layers of deception are peeled away in a jumbled sequence of events that echoes Kit's confusion as she discovers the extent of her family's connection with the Benedicts and realizes that her own actions at the age of 12 set in motion a chain of events that end in murder. National Book Award–winner Blundell (What I Saw and How I Lied, 2008)delivers a brilliantly conceived novel set against the backdrop of the 1950 Kefauver mob hearings and the Red Scare with a story of redemption and truth at its core.(Historical fiction. 14 & up)
Mary Quattlebaum
Judy Blundell follows her 2008 National Book Award winner, What I Saw and How I Lied, with an intense young-adult mystery cut from the same midcentury-noir cloth but, if possible, even more intricately stitched. Family secrets are the warp and weft of this novel, too.
—The Washington Post
Darcey Steinke
Part of what makes the teenage years so fascinating, and so full of trepidation, for both teenagers and the adults involved in their lives, is that ethical codes are still in in their larval form and, very much in flux. As she did in her National Book Award-winning What I Saw and How I Lied (2008), in Strings Attached Judy Blundell offers another noirish thriller in which teenagers uncover the questionable actions of their elders and learn to form their own judgments.
—The New York Times
From the Publisher

Praise for Strings Attached:

* "National Book Award–winner Blundell delivers a brilliantly conceived novel set against the backdrop of the 1950 Kefauver mob hearings and the Red Scare with a story of redemption and truth at its core." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "National Book Award–winner Blundell successfully constructs a complex web of intrigue" - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Blundell is a master of the literary slow build, and her emotive yet sober style is reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald's in The Great Gatsby." - LA Times

"Evoking the glamour, grit, and gusto of the era, Blundell has produced a compelling narrative with well-crafted characters who bring different ambitions, fears, and memories toward tragic collisions." - School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Michael Jung PhD
The year is 1950 and seventeen-year-old Kit Corrigan is all set to make it big as an actress in New York, far away from her angry ex-boyfriend Billy and her conservative family in Providence, Rhode Island. But New York life is tough and when Kit finds herself in danger of being both jobless and homeless, she turns to Nate Bennedict, a powerful lawyer with possible mob connections (who also happens to be Billy's father) for help. With Nate's aid, Kit gets an expensive apartment and a high-paying job as a nightclub dancer. But every favor comes with a price, and soon Kit discovers that Nate's "gifts" have turned her into another pawn in a web that has trapped not only her but members of her family as well. To free herself, Kit must piece together the sordid secrets of her family's history with the Bennedicts—and that's a dangerous game. Drawing heavily from classic noir novels and films, Blundell's novel combines both the romantic glamour and excitement of New York nightlife in the 1950s with the dangerous undercurrent of mob hits, bomb scares, and communist blacklisting. The story is also told non-linearly as different chapters shift back and forth through Kit's childhood, early adolescence, and late teens. Although these frequent time shifts can be potentially confusing, Blundell's ability to offer tantalizing bits of information about the relationship between the Corrigans and the Bennedicts at different time periods ultimately make this one of the most suspenseful and mysterious parts of the story. Gavin's narrative voice also help readers keep track of the large cast of characters as she subtly shifts her accent and speaking patterns to embody not only the various mobsters, actors, jealous boyfriends, and tormented fathers in the book, but also Kit's changing voice as the book reveals her at different ages. It's a tricky balancing act for both author and narrator, yet both pull it off in a way that leaves readers feeling they have experienced a first-rate mystery-thriller. Reviewer: Michael Jung, PhD
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545221269
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 576,810
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Judy Blundell

Judy Blundell's WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED is the 2008 winner of The National Book Award for Young People's Literature. As Jude Watson, she is the author of the bestselling Star Wars: Last of the Jedi and Jedi Quest series. She lives in Katonah, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

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2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2011

    BADDDD!

    Very bad this story isn't for kids to read

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good historical detail

    I wasn't really sure what to expect when I read this book. It was interesting, and the writing really did well for the time period depicted (1950's). The dialogue used the slang used during those days, the clothing described and the various characters all fit well for the setting and it painted an easy picture while reading the book.

    Despite her naivete, I liked Kit quite a bit. She might have seemed like a girl someone could easily take advantage of (and she was being used and tricked), but inside she had this spark that was let loose every so often (especially when she was upset) which was entertaining to read, but also gave her a distinct personality too. Her relationship with Billy is less than perfect, and sometimes I think Billy deserves a good punch to the gonads for being such a hot tempered jerk.

    As to the plot, it was pretty good. I did like the little bits involving the mob, and thought perhaps it should have focused more on that (who doesn't like mob stories?!) but there were fragments of that through the book. I was actually expecting more of a gangster type book with Kit in the middle of the mess (which she was, sort of) it wasn't really so though - it's more of a drama surrounding Kit and members of her family tied with Billy and Nate's.

    The mystery itself was all right, definitely not what I expected, but the ending, the ending caught me off guard! I was near flabbergasted and utterly blindsided with that one. Definitely a job well done!

    I expected a bit more from this book, but otherwise I thought it was a good read, and well worth the time spent. The setting, dialogue, and characters were excellent and true to the time period. This is definitely worth a read through.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    ah...uh...uh

    this book seemed jumbled up,not the best book i've read, ick!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    ok

    it wasn't great but is was ..... ok i guess im having trouble deciding if i liked this book or not

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2013

    Love this boooookkkkk

    I love this book. I couldnt put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2013

    I loved this book so much!!! I couldn't put it down I loved it t

    I loved this book so much!!! I couldn't put it down I loved it to much.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2012

    Haha

    I like this

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2012

    Idk tap this though...

    Im reading this book right now it is kinda slow but ill try to keep on reading tell u guys more when im finished (whenever that is) •Wyman + Me ?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2012

    Quickstar

    Ok...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A delightful, well-done slice from the past

    Like many starry-eyed young woman, Kit Corrigan dreamed of dancing it big in the Big Apple and having her name splashed all over Broadway. Yet life isn't the grand adventure that she imagined it would be after running away from home. When her ex-boyfriend's father finds her in NYC and offers her a hard-to-resist deal, Kit takes it without fully realizing what it entails beyond free rent, free clothes, a job recommendation, and an attempt to make amends with her ex-boyfriend. What girl can turn down such an offer? Well, if it leads deep into the trenches of the mob world, the price may actually be more dear than Kit had originally realized.

    Judy Blundell has once again proven herself in bringing history to life and engaging readers with a story that steeped in intrigue and noir-inspired romance. It was very easy to fall into the time period of Strings Attached, and I found Kit's hard-knocked life very mesmerizing to watch. I thought I knew what had happened between Kit and her ex-boyfriend, but apparently I misread the between-the-lines! The ending felt a little too neatly-tied, and I wished that it had left more things unresolved - if that makes any sense. Considering all the tumultuous feelings and misgivings, I didn't expect it all to be wiped clean in a very convenient way.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Monica Sheffo for TeensReadToo

    Gold Star Award Winner! Kit Corrigan is an eighteen-year-old from Providence who moves to New York City in the 1950s to break into show business. But her dreams of Broadway stardom aren't as attainable as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself working as a chorus girl, practically homeless, and desperate to forget the misfortunes that seem to follow her family everywhere. One night during a performance, she spots a piece of her past better left forgotten - the father of her former love. He's wealthy and dangerous, and offers her a luxury apartment for free, no strings attached. It seems too perfect to be true. And it is. Kit soon finds herself trapped in a web of lies that threaten to consume her. Will she make it out of Nate Benedict's claws? Just as with her debut novel, WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED, Judy Blundell brilliantly captures the essence of the time period while providing the reader with easily relatable characters. She taps into the mob mentality that was so crucial to the 1950s, and creates a story as intoxicating as any Broadway show. Judy Blundell is one of my favorite authors, and will easily become a favorite of yours, too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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