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Bronte's Book Club: 07/13/09
If you haven't read Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, don't read Bronte's Book Club by Kristiana Gregory until you do. I actually didn't read it for the O'Dell connection. Instead, I picked it up because of a recent twitter litchat about book clubs.
In Bronte's Book Club, Bronte Bella and her family are recently moved to a fictional town near the Channel Islands with an unobstructed view of San Nicholas island (the location of Island of the Blue Dolphins). As I did with The Valley of the Giants. I kept Google Maps open as I read to figure out where Gray's Beach would have to be. It ends up being squished between Point Heuneme and Ventura.
Bronte's first impressions of California are that everyone is perfectly beautiful and blonde. Yes, there are a lot of blondes here but we are a much more diverse state than that. Fortunately as Bella starts to make friends we are given a better sense of diversity but with the exception of Lupe none of them felt like genuine California girls from that area. If it were Malibu, maybe but once you cross into Ventura things become more laid back. There is a definite sense of "just do your own thing" there.
Mostly though this short book is about Bronte's attempts to set up a book club and make new friends. The book dynamics described here ring true from what was described in the Lit Chat. At first no one seems to be reading the book, except Bronte who adores the book. Everyone squabbles and the snacks and local gossip are the most interesting bits of the meeting.
While it was fun to see Bronte try, fail and finally succeed with her goals, the problems of getting everyone reading the same book made me glad that we don't do that our local BookCrossing meetings. It also made me wish for a sequel, Bronte Goes BookCrossing.