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Between, Georgia    by Joshilyn Jackson order for
Between, Georgia
by Joshilyn Jackson
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

Reviewing books is a lot like life: a lot of same old, same old interspersed with moments of something wildly different. When I started Between, Georgia, I knew right away that Joshilyn Jackson had created the latter, a book that stands out from the ordinary in so many ways and is wonderful from beginning to end.

Between is a tiny town of ninety people. The educated, respectable Frett family has never gotten along with the ignorant, immoral Crabtrees. When the teenage Crabtree daughter, who has managed to hide her pregnancy from her mother for nine months, gives birth to her baby girl in the Frett's house, and begs them not to tell her family, baby Nonny is adopted by a Frett. Her Crabtree grandmother finds out and an uneasy peace is maintained between the families until Nonny is thirty years old, in the middle of a divorce. Things happen and all-out war ensues, with Nonny frantically and humorously trying to broker peace between her two families.

Our heroine, Nonny, is a delightful character, witty, loving - and seeing characteristics of herself in both families. Finalizing her divorce becomes less important to her than her family's welfare until her friend, Henry Crabtree, suddenly becomes more than just a friend, and her life becomes even more complicated. Her adoptive mother, deaf at the time of her birth, and now blind as well, is a strong, independent role model for Nonny, as well as being a stabilizing influence on her neurotic twin sister. Since the twins have always lived together, they have both been mothers to Nonny.

The Crabtrees are truly awful, with the notable exception of Henry, who runs a bookstore and has been Nonny's best friend in Between. He was raised by his father, Reau Crabtree, but his mother was so wild and crazy that most people think he's not really a Crabtree. He certainly doesn't look or act like one, but he is as loyal to his family as Nonny is to hers.

I tried to read this book slowly, savouring it, but by seventy-five pages from the end, the plot is wound so tightly that finishing the book and finding out what happens becomes imperative. I loved Between, Georgia, and I look forward to reading more books by Joshilyn Jackson.

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