This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Lola Night is a young adult coming of age novel written by Mariana Collette. Everything came to a crashing halt right after Lola’s twelfth birthday. Lola’s grandmother was sent to prison for manslaughter after she had an accident which killed a young local husband and father while she was driving drunk. Then her mother, who always used to cry a lot at the best of times and wasn’t exactly the best mother in the world, had a nervous breakdown. Her best friend Amy’s parents, Alison and Nigel, took her into their home and were doing all they could to make her feel loved and wanted, but Lola worried about what had happened to her cat, who couldn’t come with her, and she couldn’t get over the fact that her grandmother was a murderer. Alison and Nigel were fabulous, warm, supportive and caring, and Lola got Christmas presents and found freshly baked goodies in the school lunches Alison prepared for her for the first time in her life. They all lived in a huge house with a pool, and Tim, Amy’s little brother, soon became Lola’s boon companion and swimming partner. Things with her lifelong pal and best friend, Amy, were not so good however. The two of them were finding living in the same house an entirely different thing than being friends. Amy didn’t seem to want to be Lola’s friend anymore, which made her life seem even more unreal than it already felt. Lola couldn’t help but wonder why couldn’t she have had a family with parents like Alison and Nigel instead of a drunken murderer for a grandmother and parents who were obviously not suitable for the task? It just didn’t seem fair.
Mariana Collette’s young adult coming of age novel, Lola Night, explores the life of a preteen girl whose birth family is a dysfunctional one at best. I loved being privy to Lola’s thoughts and looked forward to each of the lists she presented as she shared her thoughts with the reader. As I followed her life with Amy and her family, I could sympathize with her feelings of isolation and bouts of loneliness, despite the fact that, for the first time in her life, she was cared for and loved, albeit by someone else’s parents. You can feel the tension there as she tries so hard not to love Alison back, protecting herself from the pain of rejection and the reality of her temporary status in that family. Collette’s storytelling is marvelous; her writing fluid and compelling. I enjoyed getting to know Raumati, the small beach town in New Zealand where Lola lives, and seeing that part of the world through Lola’s eyes. Alcoholism, and the effect it has on families, is admirably treated in this perceptive and haunting coming of age tale, as is mental illness. The most important message that Collette imparts, however, is that even those kids who are the ones who got stuck with the dysfunctional families -- and there are an awful lot of them -- have a reason to feel hopeful and valued, and to believe in themselves. “Sometimes the best people, the most successful people, the special people, have really messed-up childhoods.” Wise words, indeed, and just a small part of what makes this book so extraordinarily good. Lola Night is most highly recommended.