Published by Scholastic
I haven't read much YA, but this book intrigued me. Its setting, alternating between Providence and New York City in 1950, is unusual for this type of book. The protagonist, 17 year-old Kit Corrigan, has set off for New York to make it big on Broadway. She is a triplet, but the book is not all about her relationships with her siblings, which would have been the easy way to go.
Kit broke up with her boyfriend back home, Billy, who promptly joined the army with Kit's brother Jamie. Billy's dad Nate is a mob lawyer who finds Kit and offers to set her up if she will reconcile with Billy and keep him informed. He entices her with a job and an apartment, and Kit mistakenly thinks she can handle all this without getting involved in mob business.
The setting of 1950 New York, with the nightclubs, the air raid sirens and the beginnings of the McCarthy era is well done, and is probably not known to many readers. The relationships among the characters, Kit, Jamie and Billy echo the relationships among Kit's father, her aunt and Billy's father. The unraveling of the truth about the past colors the future of the younger generation.
As the story progresses, Kit makes bad decisions that she will eventually pay for, but you can see why she made them. Raised in poverty, she strives to achieve the American dream. She is willing to work hard, but seduced by Nate's offer she ends up in a web from which she cannot escape.
The author creates interesting characters, and I liked Kit's young neighbor and her Aunt Delia best. But the story rests on Kit's shoulders, and she is a character that high school girls will relate to. Her dreams of stardom, her tormented love life, the loneliness of life in a big city, all these make for dramatic story telling.
Strings Attached is well written, with strong characters in a unique setting. It will appeal to high school girls, but as an adult, I enjoyed it as well.
Rating 3.5 of 5 stars