I finished reading this book today. I stuck it in an envelope and mailed it to Lauri. She's lived in Alaska for the past 30 years and will love reading it. She'll love it for its wistful heroine Marty as much as for its setting: Homer, Alaska. (I just this minute found out that Lauri has run out of reading material. . .how serendipitous.) I rummaged around and found a few reviews of it. One reviewer said, "Melissa Lion approaches her second book, Upstream (she debuted in Swollen), with tender-loving-care." Another did an interview with Melissa as a companion piece to her review. I liked this interview because Melissa talked a lot about her writing and how it works for her. You can Google Melissa Lion and find all kinds of interesting stuff.

I'm not a book reviewer, but if I was I'd say that teenage girls will love this book. I don't think this book is just for teenagers, though. It's a really good read. I like Melissa's style, it's tart and sassy and the teenage narrator feels very real, if just a touch mature. I don't always believe everything in the story, but I loved reading it and I definitely cared about Marty and Dottie and Gwen and their mom. Oh, and Katherine too.

When Melissa was in high school, she wrote short stories. They were remarkable. I remember one, it had greenbeans in the title and another one about a girl who becomes the 12th wife in a Mormon family. Such good stories. I remember thinking how extraordinary it was that this 16 year old had so much insight into other people. Melissa does have insight, plenty, and I still don't know where it comes from.

I recommend both her books -- Swollen and Upstream. And I recommend reading her other writing, which you will find by going to Melissa's website. Enjoy!