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Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart

Published by Egmont USA

Pages: 192

Ages: Young Adult

Publishers Summary: It is 1876, the year of the Centennial in Philadelphia. Katherine has lost her twin sister Anna in a tragic skating accident.  One wickedly hot September day, Katherine sets out for the exhibition grounds to cut short the haunted life she no longer wants to live.

Filled with vivid detail that artfully brings the past to life, National Book Award nominee Beth Kepart’s DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS is a timeless and finely crafted novel about betrayal and guilt, hope and despair, love, loss, and new beginnings.

“Katherine and Anna were the best of friends, sisters, twins to be exact. Throughout Katherine’s life Anna has been a constant driving force, her ever present companion and Katherine, her guardian. When something more powerful than sisterhood comes between them and Anna’s fate is sealed Katherine must wade through the mist of the unknown. All the while the celebration of the Philadelphia Centennial of 1876 is going on and Katherine is struggling to overcome this, the loss of her truest and most meaningful companion. Dangerous Neighbors is a story of sisterhood, love and hope; one you will not soon forget.

“Stunning. To use a single word to describe Beth Kephart’s writing and the telling of Katherine’s journey, it would be stunning. Beginning with the beautiful backdrop of the Philadelphia Centennial, you sense that Katherine is swept up in not only her emotional and physical loss, but also the near-constant commotion of all that is going on around her. This only adds to Katherine’s isolation and feelings of emptiness at the loss of her dear sister. And to be honest, I’m generally not a reader of historical fiction, but the way in which the background blended into the sorrow Katherine was overcoming was seamless and powerful.

“Not only was the setting the perfect place to connect with, but the struggle of Katherine’s character is what makes the book so compelling. Being that I grew up in home with no brothers and only two younger sisters I found myself connecting to Katherine in a very personal way. Those that have siblings know that the bonds between each other, though trying at times, are nearly impossible to break and I can only imagine with twins it’s even that much stronger. And then to lose one tragically would be unbearable. Katherine’s guilt and subsequent resolution was something I could completely relate to, not because of my own siblings but because of a friend who had died a few years ago. There is a part of you that wishes you could change things, that you could have said something different or stopped it in some way. But through a series of events Katherine is able to find hope, and be at peace with the circumstances. It was comforting in a way I didn’t think was possible.

“As I mentioned, I’m a huge fan of Beth’s writing and I just have to share one of my favorite passages from the book:

The bird has gone off on some tune. Short, unsustained notes – more like questions than songs. The rustling of its feathers is like the sound of a hand cupped to an ear – that space between the hand and the ear, where the heartbeat echos.
The mechanics, Katherine reminds herself, of flight.
Yes, she has it right: Lift. Drag. Thrust. Gravity. It will be over soon.
p. 38-39 Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart, ARC

“It’s this passage and so many more that draw me to Beth’s writing. Simple and elegant. Each word placed in just the correct line to make the words speak like notes on a page, creating music in your mind. As someone who is more musically inclined than any other talent I may posses, I would say without a doubt her writing is the closest I come to actually playing an instrument or singing. It’s just beautiful.

“As you can likely tell Dangerous Neighbors was one of my favorite reads this year, possibly ever. For some reason, either Beth’s writing, Katherine’s character itself, the circumstances or all of these things combined made it a book that truly spoke to me. For anyone struggling to overcome the loss of a loved one or even a transition into a new stage of life I would highly recommend this book; as well as to those who enjoy beautifully written historical fiction or just an amazing young adult novel. Dangerous Neighbors is about love, trust, friendship, loss, grief, hope, and so much more. You would be missing a great deal if you didn’t pick up this book some time in the very near future.”

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 12 and up. A beautiful story of sisterhood and overcoming the greatest of losses to begin anew. Don’t miss this book, one of my favorite reads this year!

I also had the opportunity of chatting about Dangerous Neighbors with Nicole from Linus’s Blanket on her Blog Talk Radio show, “That’s How I Blog!” Take a listen to hear me read the passage I quoted above!

This book was provided for review by Winsome Media Communications. Thank you!
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16 Responses to Book Review: Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart

  1. Anastasia says:

    I KNOW this is completely horrible, and that the book is deadly serious (no pun intended), but as soon as I read “tragic skating accident” in the summary I lost it. It’s just a LITTLE bit funny, you know?

    Love your background, by the way! 😀

  2. Beth Kephart says:

    Dear Danielle.

    You have been so incredibly kind to me and to this book. A million thanks to you. For everything.

    I just cross posted this now (with gratitude).


  3. Ooo sounds good.

    The fact that you grew up with only sisters reminds me of this movie I just saw called “Because I Said So”. Have you seen it?

    • I have! I actually quite like it, though my sisters were kind of up in the air about it. I thought it was pretty cute, besides it had Lauren Graham in it! She’s fantastic!

      This is definitely a great book too!

  4. […] Review!): Thomas and the Dragon Queen by Shutta Crum Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart – Possibly my favorite read of the year! A Bird in a Bathing Suit by Dawn […]

  5. So, I totally used the exact same quote as you in my review! Great minds, right?

  6. I want to read this one sooooo bad! Great review!

  7. Maren Limes says:

    Interesting points made on your site, the majority of which I agree with. Remember viewing a similar blog which I will try to post. I will bookmark in any case I look forward your next insightful article

  8. […] my reviews for two of Beth’s other marvelous novels here: Dangerous Neighbors The Heart is Not a […]

  9. […] over a year ago and from that point on I was done for. From that time on I’ve reviewed both Dangerous Neighbors and now You Are My Only, which is her upcoming novel due out in October this year. Her writing […]

  10. Gordon Bohn says:

    This was a very well written book especially the beautiful descriptions of the characters, surrounding, the Centennial Grounds and buildings in Fairmount Park facing the Schusylkill River.

    I am surprised that you did not develop Katherine’s and Anna’s mother more. She was ahead of her time in the involvement of the Woman’s movement.

    We have read this for our Book Club and will be discussing it on Dec. 27th.

    Gordon Bohn

  11. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in itt or something.

    I think that youu can do witth some pics to drive the message hme
    a little bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog.
    An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

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