|I met Kate Messner last year at ALA at (I think) a Toni Buzzeo event hosted by Esme Raji Codell. And it’s taken me THIS long to get around to read the book she was promoting at that time! But it was worth the wait.
The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. (Walker, 2009) is wonderful, and here’s what I love most about it. Kate gave her main character, Gianna, two traits that drive me nuts: procrastination and disorganization. But she made Gianna so likable, so sympathetic, that I was rooting for her the entire book.
Also, she took three conflicts–an overwhelmingly (to Gianna) huge leaf project that’s due, cross-country sectionals she can’t attend if that leaf project doesn’t get done, and a grandmother who is showing signs of Alzheimer’s–and wove them together seamlessly. Every conflict affects every other conflict. Every character, from her best guy friend (who might be more than that?) to the evil Bianca, who keeps sabotaging her, influences each plot thread.
And besides all that, it’s just a great read. One filled with heart. Lots of heart, lots of plot. My favorite kind of book!