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Reviewed by Bruce Arrington for Readers' Favorite
In A Closer Look by Anastacia Hawkins, Tiffany is haunted by her past deeds and misdeeds, while her brother longs for the attention and affection of his father. Meanwhile, their mother is caught in the trappings of work success and their dad is his own superhero of the waves. Poppy Martins comes on the scene to give a helping hand. The story adds a complicated twist with Poppy’s partner, Brice, who can paint a landscape you can enter, and it becomes a temporary reality. And then there’s a person Poppy had helped years before, who lives next door. Throw in some romance for Tiffany, and some conflict from her popular friends, and you have a lovely three-dimensional story on your hands.
A Closer Look by Anastacia Hawkins is a relatively short read that runs along the Mary Poppins theme from start to finish. But the story is set in the United States instead of England, and the family is your modern busy, disconnected type with some issues. A major theme of the plot is showing kindness to others, and this goes against the grain of a culture of youths who tend to make themselves look better by tearing others down. But the story goes beyond the generic “anti-bully” theme by showing what can be done instead, and how it can affect others. I found the characters to be engaging and believable. The author’s writing draws the reader in and entertains throughout the entire story. There is a twist at the end I did not see coming, and it beautifully captures the Mary Poppins theme in a new way. In all, A Closer Look by Anastacia Hawkins is a refreshing story of love and life that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Highly recommended.