Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel

Friday, May 15, 2015

Author: Courtney Sheinmel
Published by: Abrams/Amulet
Expect it in Stores and Online: Fall 2015

Edgewater is the name of the mansion where Lorrie, her sister Susannah, and their aunt Gigi live. What was once a beautiful, sprawling homestead overlooking the ocean is now so disgusting that Lorrie's best friend Lennox has never set foot in it. Filled with unwashed dishes, carpets full of cat urine, and an indescribable stench that permeates the entire house, Lorrie hopes every day that she won't be recognized as one of the girls who lives there.

When a failed tuition payment forces Lorrie to leave her summer riding camp and return to Edgewater, Lorrie is intent on emancipating herself from her aunt and gain access to the trust fund her mother left when she moved to London with her boyfriend. The only problem is the empty tank of gas. With only eight dollars to her name and an embarrassing negotiation underway over a can of Coke, Lorrie's pride is sort-of saved by Charlie Copeland. On one hand, she won't have to put a Coca Cola on credit but on the other hand, the Senator's son has just paid for her gas...and invited her to a political party at his house on Friday.

While Lorrie and Charlie are getting to know each other, things like a turned off phone, no electricity in the house, and a need for food are pushing Lorrie to get a job and sort everything out herself, with no help from Gigi or Susannah. Unfortunately things aren't going as planned and even weirder things are happening behind the scenes of the Copeland residence. What secrets are the Copeland's hiding and why does it seem that Lorrie's family is involved?

The plot is interesting but I found the characters hard to like. Undoubtedly this is the way Sheinmel intended as both Susannah and Gigi find nothing wrong with living in the squalor they have made for themselves. There may be those who may find sympathy but I could not. Susannah at 15 should have been helping Lorrie take care of the house or at the very least not add to her troubles. Gigi who was obviuosly going through a depression should have had help. Though, I can see why neither Lorrie or Susannah would have wanted to involve social services. Lennox's mothers seemed the perfect people to broach such a subject and yet, the girls were left to live in horrible conditions.

What I also didn't like was the fact that the idea of Edgewater being in such ruin was nothing but a talking point to those who lived within the neighborhood. Perhaps they didn't have a homeowner's association but what...they didn't have property taxes? I'm sure that people who live within such riches would take more interest in a house that looked like Edgewater next to their lovely, perfect homes.

Edgewater is mostly a story about the idea that money doesn't grow on trees and there are people who really have to work to earn such a living. A fast read but does not require much thought or leave you feeling changed. It's an okay book to pass the time while waiting for a flight.

I give it three out of five cateyes.

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