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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mature Young Adult Coming of Age Book

Title: Last Dance at the Frosty Queen
Author: Richard Uhlig

Publisher and/or Distributor: Knopf
Publisher Website:
Pages: 358
ISBN: 978-0-375-83967-2
Price: $15.99
Publishing Date: 2007
Reader: Bob Spear
Rating: 5 hearts

This “R” rated young adult book (explicit sex scenes) is a superbly written coming of age story centered in a small Kansas town in the 1980s. Arthur M. Flood is a member of a dysfunctional family: the widower-remarried funeral director father who escapes his melancholy by watching TV constantly; the older brother who mourns the loss of his high school sweetheart to the “world” and deals with it with booze, pot, and junk food; and Arthur, who deals with the confines of his small community and high school through frequent sex with a variety of inappropriate partners, including a teacher. Suddenly mysterious, wild, and crazy Vanessa comes into his life from urbane California and great wealth. Sent to stay with an uncle while she undergoes treatment at Mennigers in Topeka, Vanessa takes on Arthur as an interesting project.

The characters and the settings make this an especially strong, realistic commentary on small town Midwestern life and the need for its youth to escape to the opportunities of large, urban environments. We rated this well-crafted story five hearts.

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