Eden and Bethanne pool their talents and follow clues that no one seems to want discovered. What secrets are Mary Margaret's family hiding? Did Ray-Jean's snooping go too far? What role do the town's most prominent citizens play? As these two unlikely partners unearth the sordid facts, their bond grows beyond a bumbling collaboration between amateur sleuths. Despite their differences in age and experience, they end up not just friends but true soulmates.
|Publisher:||Park Place Publications|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.58(d)|
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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite Child's Play is a literary fiction coming-of-age mystery written by Nancy Swing. Each of them was stunned by the news of the accident. That Mary Margaret Gravesly, one of the society matrons of Lewiston, should be found dead in her Mercedes, the buttery-yellow color of which perfectly matched her hair, along with Ray-Jean Shackleford, an impoverished 13-year-old tomboy from one of the trailer parks which dotted the wrong side of the dying West Virginia town, seemed implausible, impossible even, to both Eden Jones, the chubby misfit who hero-worshiped her larger-than-life best friend, and Bethanne Swanson, whose own bedraggled history of failed marriages, spousal abuse and alcoholism seemed even more abject in comparison to her sister, Mary Margaret’s own meteoric climb from their modest upbringing in small-town Alabama. What Eden couldn't accept was that Ray-Jean had been found with her seat belt firmly buckled in sitting next to Mary Margaret -- Ray-Jean hated seat belts with a passion -- and why would she be in that woman's car anyway? Nancy Swing's coming of age thriller, Child's Play, takes the reader to rural West Virginia, to a town filled with contrasts, where downtown had become a virtual ghost-town while the well-to-do still had polished mansions, fancy cars and servants. Eden, the thirteen-year old introvert, who wonders why anyone would have a child while cleaning up vomited food off her infant brother and watching University television at night, is a stunning character who comes into her own after her dominant and charismatic best friend, Ray-Jean, is gone. From the tragedy of that dramatic plunge to a watery death, Eden and Bethanne's conjoined search for answers leads them into danger, self-doubt and an enduring friendship that is remarkable to behold as it is unfolding. Child's Play is a lovely and transcendent reminder of how powerful Southern fiction can be. The long, hot and dusty days and broken-down trailer courts are revealed in brilliant contrast to the community pool and the lake where Bethanne teaches the ungainly and shy teen to swim. Was it a suicide -- a desperate attempt to finally end it all -- or a cold-blooded act of murder? Swing keeps the reader on edge and wondering even as her own protagonists work towards the truth. I loved this book and looked forward to every moment I spent reading it. Child's Play is a powerful coming of age novel with an unforgettable cast of characters. It's most highly recommended.