Sunday, February 17, 2013

Review: Dented Cans by Heather Walsh

By Heather Walsh
Published November 2nd 2012
Kindle Edition, 150 Pages

A family secret is revealed during an ill-fated—yet hilarious—trip to Disney World.

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Sampson knows her family is not what you would call normal. Her father compulsively buys dented cans and has a particular fondness for cans without labels, which are extremely discounted because their contents are a mystery. Her mother takes countless pictures of her family and then glues them down into the pages of her scrapbooks, but does not allow anyone to look at them. Ryan, Hannah’s mischievous fourteen-year-old brother, is headed straight for the remedial track at the local community college, if he’s lucky. Ben, her eight-year-old brother, is a walking sound effects machine, who prefers to communicate with noises rather than words. While Hannah is focused on escaping her working-class Connecticut suburb, she also finds herself being tugged back home as she worries about her brother Ben.

Hannah’s parents inflict one last family vacation on the Sampson children, a trip that goes comically wrong almost from the get-go. Hannah is forced to confront her family’s past in Disney World, of all places, when an emotional argument prompts her parents to disclose a secret they have been keeping from the children for sixteen years. Ultimately, she must decide whether to leave her hometown and not look back, or to focus on helping her family.--Goodreads

4 Stars

Such an odd title, but I enjoyed it. But for most of the novel, Hannah, the main character, seems to be rambling. The events in the book keep jumping around it's hard to tell what Hannah wants us to know. Maybe she wants us to know everything or maybe she just wanted to make her case that her parents deserve the weirdest-parents-of-the-century award.

Her parent are definitely odd balls, but for most of the novel they didn't seem like parents to me. First off the way they treated their children. It was like the mom and the dad never stood up for their kids. Second, why were they so against Hannah getting a car? She was going to pay for it herself. It all worked out in the end, but still. And when Hannah asked if she could buy a car, the mom was all like "I have a headache" seriously? A headache just from one question? Third, I thought they were suppose to be poor, so why did they splurge on a trip to Disney? I get that their youngest child, Ben, is special needs, but they don't need another trip to Disney. Shouldn't they be saving for their children's college funds or their retirement fund or something? Parents in YA novels just piss me off... In the end, the parents kind of redeemed themselves... Kinda.

Rant about YA novel parents aside, I really liked how Dented Cans talked about typical problems a teen might experience such as meaningless sibling quarrels, wanting to get out of your small town, and trying to get your parents to understand you.

The ending was unexpected... I really liked how this novel was about family. It's really refreshing compared to the dozen upon dozens of YA contemporary novels about people coming from broken homes trying to find love in this harsh, harsh world. There's nothing wrong with those novels, I love those novels, but it's nice to have variety in your reading.

Note: This was definitely the most out there book I read in terms of characters. Dented cans? Who would have thought?

Purchase this novel at: Amazon (kindle or paperback)

1 comment:

  1. Love your review. And I totally understand your frustration with YA parents. Sometimes you just want to kick them! Anyway, it is nice that this book is all about family. Thanks for the review :)

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction


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