Keep Sweet

Keep Sweet

by Michele Dominguez Greene

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442409774
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 03/08/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Michele Dominguez Greene is the author of Keep Sweet and Chasing the Jaguar. She is active in numerous writing and literacy workshops with inner city kids throughout Southern California, and speaks regularly at conferences around the country. She has published articles in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Animal Wellness Magazine, and Cuerpo Magazine, and has had a long-standing, successful career as an actress, appearing in television, film, and theater. She lives in Los Angeles.

Read an Excerpt

Keep Sweet


By Michele Dominguez Greene

Simon Pulse

Copyright © 2010 Michele Dominguez Greene
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781416986812

PROLOGUE


?Alva Jane, meet me behind the barn before dark,
I have something important to tell you.??


I CLOSED MY EYES AT THE MEMORY OF JOSEPH JOHN?S face, flushed with excitement as he whispered those words to me?the words that changed my life forever. Beside the barn washed white by the sun, Joseph John had taken my hand and said the words I had been waiting to hear. His father had agreed to our marriage; he planned to speak to my father and the prophet that very evening.


I knew I shouldn?t do it, that it was wrong, but I felt a rush of such excitement and joy that I couldn?t help it: I kissed him quickly, my lips brushing lightly over his, feeling their softness and searching as he leaned in to me. And then came Sister Cora?s voice and a rough hand on my collar. I lost my balance and fell headlong into the nightmare I am living now.


One kiss brought me here, locked in this pitch-black root cellar beneath the barn. I shivered; the evening temperature always drops in the desert. I heard the scurrying of rats overhead and moved away from the corner where I had been crouching. I was unable to lean or lie down, my legs felt stiff, my knees raw. I could feel the welts on my legs and back oozing blood. The sacred undergarments beneath my cotton dress stuck to the open wounds; each movement brought a stinging pain.


I closed my eyes to block out the vision of Joseph John being forced into Tom Pruitt?s truck, the men pinning his arms behind him. And then my own father, Eldon Ray, in the back stall of the barn, wielding his belt, swinging it overhead and bringing it down upon my back.? My mother holding my wrists in a strong grip, looking at me with eyes shining bright and metallic. Was she suffering with me ? or was she satisfied? Whatever she felt, she did nothing to stop my pain, even when I cried out to her.


Somewhere in the midnight silence, I heard the wild, frenzied cries of the coyotes as they closed in on their prey. The insane yipping and howling echoed off the red rocks and desolate plains of the Utah desert. My heart beat faster and the blood rushed to my head. I knew how the prey felt in that terrible moment: trapped, helpless. I lay on my stomach, pressing my face against the cool dirt floor, letting exhaustion take over. I felt something scurry over my leg but I did not bother to shake it off. Perhaps I will sleep and never wake up; perhaps God will deliver me from the life that lies before me ? or restore me to the life I knew just a few months earlier.?


? 2010 Michele Dominguez Greene



Continues...

Excerpted from Keep Sweet by Michele Dominguez Greene Copyright © 2010 by Michele Dominguez Greene. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Keep Sweet 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Alva Jane has grown up and forever known the world of Pineridge, a FLDS community in the borders of Utah. The Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints have treated her well, and through all that she's known, they've been right. Holy. And what's more, she's caught the eye of the sweetest boy in the community - Joseph John. When she realizes he shares these unguarded feelings for her as well, her life just seems to be happier and happier. After all, Joseph John has had dreams about being together. If he goes to the prophet, he can eventually have her as his wife. His first wife. But when a new couple moves in to Pineridge, and the wife is less than thrilled to adjust to everything, things get worse. Suddenly, Alva Jane finds herself in a world of increasing clarity. Her father has his eyes on a loose girl of sixteen - and her mother, already fighting with seven other wives for her spot as top affection holder, isn't too pleased. And the brother of the prophet discovers his wife trying to escape - leading Alva Jane and her half-sister to witness her being punished in the name of the Lord. Things only get worse. And when Alva Jane finds herself in a sect scarier than ever before, the motto 'Keep sweet' doesn't seem so innocent anymore. And neither do the people. Books involving polygamist religions and these types of troubled faiths are always hard to judge. On one hand, these stories are interesting to me, because they handle the importance of questioning and open faith, the importance of fair treatment, and many branches of psychological issues. Plus, more often than not, these cults and religions often have dire consequences involving the children at the heart of the community. While I find these to be positives to the plot, it may very well make other people feel uncomfortable. Rape, abuse, abandonment, and brain washing are all big parts of this novel. But if the reader can suck in their fears and questions, they are bound to find a book that is both compelling and an important look into the cult ideals we hear about, but never truly see first-hand. Alva Jane is a protagonist who's hard to pin down. Greene's writing isn't bad, though it suffers from sometimes telling more than showing. However, the first-person narrative of Alva Jane is never really awkward, and the characters manage to come off the page pretty well, though some of the wives tend to blend together. Not that juggling so many secondary characters is easy by any means. The important characters are done well, though they manage sprinklings of depth that could have been expanded upon. What's most important is that through all of Alva Jane's hardships, the reader feels immense disappointment if she fails; triumph if she succeeds. More than once I found myself wondering how I came to care so much about her escaping her life - because you really don't see the growing affection with the character so easily. While Greene showed a lot of strong points, her book could have been longer. The story was plotted well and it never had a dull moment, but she could have expanded more on her other characters and been better off later on for it. Also, sometimes it got slow if there were many paragraphs between dialogue and action. Usually the pace wasn't bad, but the times were noticeable when it was. This is not a book for everyone.... Read the full review at www.teensreadtoo.com
Annie Tressler More than 1 year ago
this is a great and extremely interesting story the charayters are well developed and add a lot of depth. if only the ending were more developed..... leaves you with some questions..... overall a must must must read!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story was very well put together! The examples really made you feel like you were right in the story! It was really neat to sort of be on the inside of an FLDS compound. I wish the ending had been a little more thought out, but overall, it drew me in with every word!
amusingmother on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I found this book hauntingly accurate. The author has done her research and has told a tale of a fictional young woman with a story very similar to many others who have told their story of FLDS women in the culture.I was a little disappointed with some of the improbable scenarios as I think she may have gotten the LDS church confused with FLDS church which are very, very different. The FLDS don't actively proselyte. The FLDS do not attend BYU because it is difficult to get admitted and they would have to pay non-member prices since the members subsidize the school with tithes. I mean members of the mainstream Mormon church. It is much more likely a member of the FLDS church would be "chosen" and called to attend Southern Utah University or Dixie State. They are not an uncommon sight at those two colleges.Besides that, the story is solid although a couple of other facts are crossed over to the LDS church. These churches split over a hundred years ago and have clearly developed in different directions. I would have appreciated a more clear delineation.That said, Michele Greene's writing style is flowing and she weaves an engaging story that is difficult to put down. I look forward to more of her books.
allthesedarnbooks on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This short, harrowing young adult novel tells the story of Alva Jane, a fourteen-year-old girl living in a Fundamentalist Mormon community. The story is familiar to anyone who's previously read on the subject, and while the pages turn quickly, as you worry for Alva's safety and sanity, the overall experience leaves something to be desired. Alva's voice is inconsistent; sometimes she seems to know nothing about the "Gentile" outside world, at other times she explains her religion and community as if from an outsider's perspective. There's a lot of exposition, and a lot of clunky dialogue. And although this book is marketed as young adult, there's a brutal, graphic rape scene of Alva by a much older man that would make me hesitate recommending this to all but the most mature teenagers. I can only recommend this if you're really interested in the FLDS and want to read whatever you can on the subject. For the casual reader, I'd say skip it. Two and a half stars.
ForeignCircus on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I found this young adult novel about life in a polygamist cult to be an incredibly compelling read. Alva Jane is the oldest daughter of a favored wife, and has enjoyed her childhood on the compound, oblivious to the darker tones that underpin her life. She is looking foward to marrying a young man in her community until one innocent stolen kiss shatters all their dreams. Married off to a violent abusive older husband, Alva Jane is forced to take a new look at her life and the lives of those around her.Alva Jane reads as a complete and believable character with a strong narrative voice. I read this book through in one sitting, unable to walk away from Alva Jane and her suffering. An excellent novel, this book does deal realistically with the darkness of child marriage and so includes sex scenes that may be disturbing to some readers. A highly recommend read.
JessicaPoff More than 1 year ago
Extremely good book to read. One that is hard to put down once you get started however once finished it leaves you with a lot of questions and wonderment. Sure wish this book would become a series that will answer what the book left behind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've always been interested in reading about diverse cultures and religions, so when I picked up this book I decided it was a must read. I finished it in two days and I'm not even really sure where to begin. I won't bother to give a description of the book considering everyone else has. I highly recommend this book if you're interested in learning more about the FLDS.... Culture... but I will warn you that it can be very disturbing and intense at some points. I finished reading it yesterday and I still can't believe these terrible things are still going on today. I'm giving this story four stars because I think it was very well structured and from what else I've studied, the facts are also correct. Not only that, but it was a quick read even though I feel like I've gain a lot of knowledge and I never got bored. My only problem is that you don't really *SPOILERS* find out about Alva's life after leaving this cult and I fell like that could make a very interesting second book or the author could have made the book longer. Also, it was well written, but I did feel like it was rushed sometimes and that it didn't go into too many details about each character. Again, this is a very informational and fast paced book, but it's also very intense and I felt myself squirming in my seat on a few parts. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. I wouldn't consider it one of my favorites, but it was a very eye-opening experience :).
cutecupcake More than 1 year ago
This story really has a lot of depth and complexity. It paints a vivid picture of a girl living within the confines of an FLDS community and leaves you in suspense for most of the book. The characters have a lot of depth which helps you understand the FLDS. In one light I really loved the ending, but I wished it would've gone a little further in depth.
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CleoReads More than 1 year ago
wonderful