Review: Sunnyside Blues (with free giveaway!)

Title:  Sunnyside Blues

Author:  Mary Carter

Published:  June 30, 2009

Page Count:  352

Genre:  Fiction

My Rating:  4/5

Twenty-five-year-old Andes Lane has spent nine years moving restlessly from place to place as she searches for somewhere that feels right. In the little blue houseboat bobbing on a Seattle lake, she thinks she’s found it. But Andes has barely had a chance to settle in before her new life is upended by her landlord, Jay, and his ten-year-old son, Chase. Smart, secretive, and precocious, Chase touches a chord with Andes even as he plays on her last nerve. When Jay needs someone to take care of Chase temporarily, Andes agrees to accompany the boy to Sunnyside, Queens, on a quest she’s sure will prove fruitless. But in this new, strange, unexpectedly welcoming city, Andes will confront the secrets she tried to leave behind and the lies that have kept her running. And against all odds, she’ll discover a place, a man, and a newfound peace of mind that feel very much like home.

I have to admit that Sunnyside Blues was not one of those books that grab me right away.  In fact, towards the beginning of the novel I found myself a little concerned that I wouldn’t like it.  But once I started to get to know the characters, Andes especially, I fell in love with this charming story and I ended up really enjoying it.

I definitely felt for Andes throughout the novel.  She has spent her entire adult life running from her past, from her abusive father and from one event which changed her entire life and basically forced her into hiding.  And because of all this, she hasn’t had too many close relationships, too many friends she can really count on or any place where she can feel at home.  So when she meets Jay and Chase in the beginning of the novel, I thought for sure it would be a story about the three of them becoming a little family (or something to that effect).  What I liked about this novel is that it took a completely different turn – Andes suddenly finds herself responsible for this ten-year-old boy, on a quest to find a person who Chase believes may be very important to him.  And through this journey of theirs, the reader gets to watch as Andes starts to really care about Chase, as Chase starts to trust and depend on Andes, and as they navigate the world together.  Their relationship was just so fun to read about – it was sort of a love/hate relationship, but as they got to know each other better and better it just became so sweet.

Another thing I enjoyed about the novel is the fact that Ms. Carter truly had me guessing through most of the book.  The plot was never predictable, at least I couldn’t predict any of it, and I definitely appreciated that element to this story.  I enjoyed the idea of Andes taking Chase to New York, with no concrete plan other than they’d get there safely and try to find a place to live temporarily, and it all worked out so well for them once they got there.  Maybe it wasn’t the most realistic of situations, but I certainly enjoyed reading about their adventure!

Sunnyside Blues is a sweet, charming story with several twists and turns and I truly enjoyed reading it.  Mary Carter has crafted great characters and an entertaining plot that will leave you smiling and satisfied when all is said and done.

And now, for the giveaway – Mary Carter has generously offered to give away TWO copies of Sunnyside Blues.  The giveaway is open to anyone, regardless of where you live.  Just comment on this post to enter, and I’ll go ahead and throw in an extra entry for anyone who’d like to blog or twitter about this contest.  The giveaway will close on Sunday, July 12 (just under two weeks from today) and I will choose a winner that evening or the next morning.  Good luck and thanks for participating!

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