Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: February 21, 2013
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "That’s the day the trouble started. The trouble that nearly ruined my life. The trouble that turned me Dark. The trouble that begs me for revenge. Celia Door enters her freshman year of high school with giant boots, dark eyeliner, and a thirst for revenge against Sandy Firestone, the girl who did something unspeakable to Celia last year. But then Celia meets Drake, the cool new kid from New York City who entrusts her with his deepest, darkest secret. When Celia’s quest for justice threatens her relationship with Drake, she’s forced to decide which is sweeter: revenge or friendship."
Celia Door is known as Celia the Dark, because she has separated herself from her classmates, always wears a dark hoodie and black boots, and is all around surly. She wasn't always this way though, thanks to popular girl, Sandy, who pretty much bullied her all throughout middle school. Celia has decided to seek revenge on Sandy now that they are in high school and the stakes are higher. Things are already looking up for Celia now that she is in high school, because she meets charismatic Drake who is from New York City. He's befriends her immediately and knows that Hershey, Pennsylvania just doesn't understand Celia. Drake and Celia become good friends and he trusts her with a deep secret. Things get a bit sticky for Celia though once her plan for revenge starts to involve Drake and she must question what is more important. Karen Finneyfrock's debut, The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door is a fantastic read for young girls who are navigating their way through the social issues of middle school.
Celia is a likable protagonist in The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door despite her many defense mechanisms to push people away. You can't help but feel sorry for her when you learn more about the issues she had in middle school with Sandy and Mandy, the two resident mean girls. Celia turns to poetry and often can be found writing down her beautiful poems, which are included in the novel. Celia is a character who is witty, sarcastic and funny; I think many young girls will connect with her.
To make matters worse, Celia's parents are separated and this also impacts Celia's world. Her only friend isn't allowed to see her anymore and she really doesn't have the best relationship with her mother. Things are grim until Drake enters the picture and I really enjoyed their friendship. Drake harbors a secret that many others may deal with on a daily basis and may be too afraid to share. I like that The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door focuses on this and how Celia and Drake's relationship is a positive one as they both try to help each other.
The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door is an important and timely read, especially with all of the bullying that goes on in schools today. It really sheds light on how words can be hurtful to people and how upsetting things that happen to us many years ago can stay with us. Being a teacher, I also took to heart Celia's interactions with her 9th grade English teacher. They really didn't see eye to eye and it made me think about what some students are dealing with on a daily basis that, we, teachers can't even begin to imagine.
I am definitely going to put The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door in my classroom library, because I think it has an important message, deals with timely issues, and will make young people think, which is the perfect read for middle school.