“Book Review: The Girl in My Treehouse”
Reviewed by Chika Anene
A charming young adult novel about innocent crushes, self-acceptance, and a misunderstood preacher
Matthew Crosby spends most of his time trying to be invisible; the less he makes himself known, the better, especially when he’s at the local pool. There is nothing worse to him than being shirtless and hearing the jabs from the town bullies.
But when a dreamy girl with wild hair and a smile that makes him melt comes crashing into his life, he’s suddenly got more to worry about than just taking his shirt off.
“Her eyes were wide and wild and her hair like a nest of live wires.”
Matthew’s crush (Lia) walks around with her head in the clouds. Her hazel eyes bear hints of her next adventure, and her smile is bright enough to light up a whole street. But she’s dealing with some issues at home, including a mother who’s barely around and the toxic boyfriend she keeps bringing home.
Matthew knows that all he needs to do is “trust the process” about Lia, but doing that is a whole lot more difficult than it sounds.
When Lia convinces Matt to embark on one of her crazy adventures, they discover Maycomb’s preacher, Higgins, stark naked by his pond. And thus begins their journey of getting to know the man behind the pulpit, who hasn’t been the same since losing his wife. They never would have expected that something so strange could take them to a place where they learn to stand up to the bullies and embrace their own uniqueness in the process.
S.A Fanning has a way with words. Part of what makes The Girl in My Treehouse so enjoyable is just how smoothly the author can tap into the fountain of youth. The language is authentic and thought-provoking, constantly keeping us cued into what our main characters are going through.
Reading this one makes us feel like we’re right in the thick of it with our characters. We’re not merely reading; we’re stepping through the vivid descriptions, overhearing Matt’s and Lia’s interactions from nearby, and taking part in the wildness that is to come. I’m thrilled to feel like such a part of the scenery here.
The characters are also vivid and enjoyable. The novel sends me back into my own memories to dissect what it was like to be Matt’s age again, how the world seems against us when we don’t yet have a backbone. Teen readers struggling with embracing their true selves will get a real kick out of this story.
Fanning also weaves important themes into the story with relative ease, like Christianity, same-sex marriages, and emotionally distant men.
This book captures the essence of small-town adolescence, and it takes older readers on a joyous ride back to their teenage years. The writing is splendid, the characters vibrant and relatable, and the story endearing. It’s a book I would highly recommend to younger and older readers alike.
Publisher: Immortal Works Press
Genre: Young Adult contemporary fiction
Print length: 200 pages
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