Take one part teenage trouble maker, mix violently with two parts crazy relatives, add in a dash of supernatural and as a surprise, a healthy dose of love in its many forms...and speaking of forms that applies to more than just the love here. *ahem* It's a recipe that seems complex but results in a simple story meant to enjoy, not perplex, and allows you the convenience of getting caught up for an afternoon.
Sitting at just about 150 pages, this is not a "big books" situation but then again as most of us know, sometimes the best stories come in the smallest of packages. In this case, it definitely rates in the good to great category. Our leading lady, Anais (pronounced An-ay...don't worry, I was confused/concerned too) Butt is in a heap load of trouble. She's being kicked out of school YET AGAIN much to both her dismay (though she doesn't let on) and her parents. They feel the only viable solution to turn her life right side up again is a lesson in life's hard knocks and while Nanny Bette is a great guardian, Nanny Pam is MUCH better in this department. Her gruff and course nature, along with her sidekick, cousin Josephine, are cause for much friction....but soon Anais has a reason to actually care about her new life in the little mountain town of Glenorie...where some people seem to age REALLY well. *ahem* That reason has a name...AND a secret. Oh, but so does Anais don't you know...and things are about to get a wee bit hairy.
Sometimes in shorter tales, the connections to the characters, how much you feel or care about them, can get blurred along the way; cutting page count or story line versus the time needed to build viable personas. That is not the case here. Though the page count is kept to a minimum, the characters personalities, their wants and desires, their "them-ness" is not only relatable, but memorable. Anais, with her curious name and penchant for trouble though the reasons why are explained a bit later. Josephine, with her understated intelligence, gut feelings, and true-blue-stand-by-you-ness that eventually surfaces. Nanny Bette, the quirky and forgetful guardian that means well even if heavy-handedness is not really in her vocab. Nanny Pam, who is the complete opposite of Nanny Bette, whose life bread is heavy-handedness, though again beneath it all, she means well. Let us not forget the fellas in the story too. From Shannon, her "friend" that followed her into the countryside (*dun dun dunnnn*) to the Reverend who...looks DANG good for 70 (don't judge me...there's a reason for this...), ironically as many secrets as the ladies have, the men have them two fold stronger.
In conclusion, a book for YA readers and beyond with appeal for paranormal/supernatural fans as well as those simply craving an interesting story. You shan't be surprised when a twist or two occurs...that part you can see right through, but you won't be off-put either. The author makes the reveals work as a part of the overall structuring with curious characters and a dash of TMI along the way. Once I reached the final pages, I was happy to note that there is another book scheduled to compliment this one entitled, Anais Butt and the Sour Kraut, coming in 2014. What can I say? It made it to the wish list.
Review copy received courtesy of TWCS Publishing House. (THANKS!) For more information on this title. be sure to stop by their official site. As this is a blog tour, be sure to check out the other sites along the way and help spread the word on this oddly titled book that packs a delightful punch.
Until next time...happy reading!