Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Week with Fiona Wonder: A Novel by Kelly Huddleston

It is exactly one week until sixteen-year-old Mercy Swimmer is to play out a dream scenario: to spend an entire week with movie star Fiona Wonder, the prize awarded to the winner of a contest staged by a teen magazine.

Mercy is kind and compassionate and always tries to see the best in everybody, even when those around her do not respond similarly. For example, her mother’s snippy, hot-tempered friend Nikki is a kleptomaniac who constantly belittles her boyfriend. Her best friend Valerie has anger issues and a weight problem. Beautiful but cold Lady Redding, Valerie’s mother, feels entitled to everything even as others go without. And Mercy’s mother, a severe asthmatic who works two menial jobs in a “dead mall”, seems to care more about Fiona Wonder and Mercy’s upcoming week with her than the pressing issues in their own lives.

Everything is on track for Mercy’s upcoming week with Fiona Wonder, but when her mother’s asthma flairs up, Mercy’s world turns upside down and she is faced with a decision that will ultimately challenge her own capacity for compassion.

A Week with Fiona Wonder shines an intense light upon the dire consequences of social exclusivity and suggests the alternatives of inclusion, empathy and, indeed, mercy.

Mercy is sixteen and a pretty average teenager.  She has a ragtag group of friends with their own problems and eccentricies  but she doesn't hold it against them.  Sure, sometimes they really anger her, but she tries to move on and not let it get to her.  

Her mom is a huge fan of celebrity Fiona Wonder, and wins a week with the celebrity for her daughter.  Mercy could care less, but she knows her mom is excited for her.  A Week with Fiona Wonder covers the week in Mercy's life before she leaves for her week with the celebrity.  

However, the choices of her mom, her friends and others begin to pressurize Mercy until she almost explodes.  And when her mom gets sick, she has to make an even bigger choice.  A Week with Fiona Wonder is about social interaction and how much pressure one teenager is under and how she handles and buckles from it.  With a close look at economics and today's world, A Week with Fiona Wonder is not only beautifully written, but invokes a myriad of emotions with the reader on many levels.  

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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