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Mistik Lake by Martha Brooks

Mistik Lake (2007)

by Martha Brooks

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Mistik Lake by Martha Brooks is about a Canadian teenage girl who is trying to cope with a myriad of issues. One of Odella’s parents struggles with alcoholism and abandons the family. Odella, the oldest of her siblings, tries to maintain order for the rest of her household while also dealing with the typical trials of the teenage years.

While I did enjoy certain aspects of the story, particularly the discussions on the characters’ Icelandic heritage, I’m afraid this book suffers from what I call ‘everything AND the kitchen sink’ syndrome. With themes of guilt, identity, alcoholism, abandonment, and h*mos*xu*ality — just to name a few, this book just had too much going on with the story in order for it not to feel a bit contrived. I just really believe that young adult novels, particularly short ones, are more effective when they deal with only one or two major issues. That is probably just a personal preference, though. Your mileage may vary.

2007, 224 pp. ( )
  1morechapter | May 24, 2012 |
very nice writing.
  Khassa | Sep 3, 2011 |
This teen paperback book is full of history, family secrets and mixed up emotions. With this book, each chapter comes from another member of the family. It begins with the death of young teenage people in Mistik Lake. It had happened along time ago but one girl survived the accident and this story is about her and her family.

The writer does an exciting way as slowly letting the reader know a little more as each page is turned. Not read fast but slowly. It gives this book an excitement and the reader knows that they can't put the book down until you read it all.

Another item that this book has is to show the reader how a feeling comes about and how the feeling is expressed. Not from the reader's point of view but a husband, a daughter, a cousin, or a past boyfriend twenty years ago. The reaader allows many new feeling nouns or verbs to flow into their heart and allow that reader an opportunity to feel it like the person inside the book.

In this world, the birth of a new born baby is very, very special but a death is a hard part in let go of the realationship that a character has with the person. This book shows that realationship, before and after, to help readers understand what it is all about. ( )
  RoppPop | Nov 14, 2010 |
YRCA 2010 Nominee

Odella is the oldest daughter of Sally, a depressed alcoholic with secrets. The story centers around Odella from age 9 to 18, as she navigates life assuming the role as caretaker of her two sisters and father. Odella's mother Sally has never gotten over the tragedy of being the sole survivor of a fatal accident, that took place on Mistik Lake the winter she was 16. Mistik Lake is a small town in Manitoba where Sally grew up. Sally has a close relationship with her Aunt Gloria who was also from Mistik Lake. Gloria owns the family cottage at the lake but never uses it. Odella and her family have been going to the cottage for summers since she was little. Sally eventually leaves the family to move to Iceland with another man. Odella and her family try to cope, but feel lost and alone. Odella reaches out to Aunt Gloria who has a secret of her own. Life goes on and the family tries to keep it together as their mother communicates with them less and less. Shockingly, as the family is settling in to a new life without their mother, they learn she has died in Iceland. Odella who feels suffocated by her family, reaches out to a boy named Jimmy whom she met at Mistik Lake. A sweet romance between Odella and Jimmy begins, and is the uplifting highlight of the book. The story is gripping and heartbreaking at times, but shows the strength of love and perseverance. The story delves into the pasts of Odella, Sally and Gloria giving insights into the three generations of this family, with women who are complicated and misunderstood. ( )
  picardopicks | Oct 8, 2010 |
When I scan the audio book shelves at the library, I usually look for something I'd heard of one way or another (either from seeing it in a bookstore, recommended by a friend, or having read a review of it by a blogger.) I'd never heard of "Mistik Lake," but something about it caught my eye and I checked it out.

I'm glad I did. Only four discs long, and there was a lot of story jammed in here. Only it didn't feel jammed at all. The writing flowed in and out, beautiful and highly enjoyable. The story switched from teenage Odella's first person narrative, to the third person account of her great-aunt Gloria, and perspective of Odella's boyfriend Jimmy. Normally a strange choice of switching point of view like that would throw me off, but Brooks worked it and it payed off. (I also wanted to mention that as an American reader, I was fascinated by the bits about characters' Icelandic lineage.)

"Mistik Lake" is a story about a lot of things. It's about love, family, regret, loss, hope, sexuality, danger, secrets, guilt, abandonment, pain, death, growing up, coming to terms. For a story that was only 4 discs long (or about 200 pages), there's a lot covered and it never felt overwrought. One of my favorite reads of the year so far. ( )
  pocketmermaid | Jun 6, 2010 |
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Perhaps what people said was true, that any man who lived long enough would eventually realise that the way in which he was cursed was also the blessing he'd received.
Alice Hoffman, The River King
With all my sweet love for my husband,

And for
Jeffrey Canton

in memory of
Ada Brooks
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On a stone-cold night in 1981 a carload of teenagers went joyriding out on frozen Mistik Lake.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374349851, Hardcover)

Seventeen-year-old Odella is haunted by family secrets. Why doesn't her great-aunt Gloria visit anymore? Why does her mother, Sally, drink so much? Sally's tragic car accident on a frozen lake when she was sixteen seems to have cast a spell over her life that no one can break. Odella tries to hold her family together, but when her mother runs off, the family is left reeling. Then Odella meets Jimmy Tomasson, whose dreams of prophetic flying fish seem to have led him to her. In the heat and tenderness of their deepening feelings and in his belief in her, Odella begins to find the strength to unravel the web of secrets that has ensnared them all.
This stunning novel, written in spare, elegant prose and told from multiple points of view, explores the lives of three generations of women in one family, revealing what happens when you don't have the courage to follow your own heart, and what can happen when you do.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:56 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After Odella's mother leaves her, her sisters, and their father in Manitoba and moves to Iceland with another man, she then dies there, and the family finally learns some of the many secrets that have haunted them for two generations.

» see all 2 descriptions

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