The Queen of Everything by Deb Caletti
Published: 11-2-2002 by Simon Pulse
Get the book: Amazon
People ask me all the time what having Vince MacKenzie for a father was like. What they mean is, was he always crazy?
High school junior Jordan MacKenzie’s life was pretty typical: fractured family, new boyfriend, dead-end job. She’d been living with her father (the predictable optometrist) since her mother (the hippie holdover) had become too embarrassing to be around. Jordan felt that she finally had as normal a life as she could. Then came Gayle D’Angelo.
Jordan knew her father was dating Gayle and that Gayle was married. Jordan knew it was wrong and that her father was becoming someone she didn’t recognize anymore, but what could she do about it? And how could she — how could anyone — have possibly guessed that this illicit love affair would implode in such a violent and disturbing way?
I like Deb Caletti’s books a lot, but this wasn’t one of my favorites. It kinda reminded me of Dreamland by Sarah Dessen, which was a depressing book. This book is about things going on in Jordan’s life, but most of the things going on in her life are actually things going on in her dad’s life and how they affect her.
- Jordan’s mom – While Jordan sees her mom as a slightly crazy hippie, I think she’s a delightful crazy hippie. Jordan’s mom seems to be a much more supportive parent than Jordan thinks she is. She also lives a zany and interesting life.
- Jackson – Jackson is a sweet, patient, and unique guy. Jordan should have spent so much more time with Jackson than she did. He’s quirky because he got lost by himself for a few days and followed sounds that no one else heard back home. He plays bagpipes and shows up whenever Jordan needs him, even if she doesn’t realize she needs him.
- Kale – It’s difficult to describe how much I hate this guy. He is such a jerk, and every time he showed up I cringed inside because he’s just that much of a loser. Jordan wasted so much time with him even thought she knew the kind of guy he was.
- Melissa – Yeah, as far as best friends go, Melissa isn’t the greatest one. She doesn’t really care that Kale is a disgusting person – she just gets obsessed with the fact that a boy is paying attention to Jordan. Melissa is a pretty flat character, and she gets annoyed at Jordan for silly reasons.
- Jordan’s dad – He’s so selfish. He gets into a bad situation, and even though his is fully aware that seeing a married woman is a bad idea, he chooses to ignore the things he doesn’t like. When Jordan tries to talk to her dad about what he’s doing, he gets angry and pushes her away. He’s extremely selfish, and it would have been a lot better for Jordan’s life if he had at least attempted to be a decent parent.
- I’m confused – You go into this book not knowing what happened, but Jordan is telling you the story after everything has already happened. It was a bit confusing, especially when Jordan refers to Big Mama, a character we aren’t introduced to until very late in the story. It can add to a story if you don’t know what’s going to happen, because the characters don’t know what’s going to happen. But it was like Jordan existed in 2 times at once – the time when everything was happening, and the time after it happened.
- This photo, ripped up and discarded in anger, did not belong here at our house. This photo of a man who was not even one of us, dressed up for an occasion we were not a part of. It frightened me. Frightened me in a way that I had never felt before. It was the sudden realization that terrible things might not just be for other people. – pg. 103
- “I think I’m going nuts,” I said to the cat. But I heard it. It did. I stood up, as if that might help my ears somehow. God, I felt so crazy, but I could have sworn I heard the sound of bagpipes coming from the direction of the creek. – Jordan pg. 332-333