The Splendor Falls
by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September, 2009
List Price: $17.99
Review: As if losing a promising ballet career to a freak leg injury isn't enough, Sylvie Davis - a 16-year old prodigy - is sent to stay with a cousin she's never met in a place she's never been in order to come to grips with her new life. Sylvie is used to an ever-changing world. She lives in Manhattan with her mother and new husband and travels around the world performing as the youngest principal dancer for the American ballet - that is until the tragic pas de deux that ends her career and thrusts her back into the life of a "normal" teenager. In the months that follow her accident, Sylvie struggles with her life - resorting to Vicaden and alcohol to soothe her pain. Finally, as her mother tries to start her new life with her new husband, they send Sylvie to Alabama to get in touch with her roots and find a way to start a new life. What she doesn't realize is that by going to Alabama she will not only encounter a completely different lifestyle than Manhattan, but that she will be greeted by charming young men who make her question her every feeling, a teen council that seems too good to be true, and a house full of ghosts who seem to be searching for something or someone. Sylvie begins to wonder if, along with losing everything that’s mattered to her, she is also losing her mind! Sylvie finds out rather quickly that her father kept an entire life a secret from her, and since he is no longer living it's too late to find out why. Plus, Sylvie swiftly realizes that being a Davis might be more than she's bargained for. The heartache, mystery, and ghosts all unravel in Rosemary Clement-Moore's book entitled The Splendor Falls.
Overall, The Splendor Falls is a wonderful book. Sylvie is an exceptional multi-dimensional character. She has the class of a prima ballerina, but the temper of a spoiled teen topped off with a wry sense of humor that is portrayed through countless quotes throughout the book. One example occurs when she meets some of the teens upon her arrival in Alabama. Her comment, "My keen powers of observation told me she didn't need another excuse not to like me. For some reason she was already acting like I had peed in her Cheerios," is but one of many classic "Sylvie-isms". The love triangle also keeps the reader enthralled. It's perfect for the teen reader! It's obvious that one, if not both of the "too perfect" love interests, is up to no good. However, it isn't until the very end of the book that the reader figures out everyone's intentions. The ghost aspect of the novel is very well done. Sylvie must learn about her family's past in order to understand the motives of the ghosts who at times are quite eerie. This is all very interesting in that she learns her history through journals, etc. kept by the family. Although some of the tie in between her family and another family seem somewhat farfetched, it never detracts from the story. Finally, The Splendor Falls is a lengthy book - 513 pages. In some cases, the author could have easily omitted several pages. The book would have been just as good, if not better, had 100 pages been shed from the final printing. All in all, however, The Splendor Falls is a commendable book which is highly recommended for teens who like mystery, romance, and the supernatural.
Review written by Margo Nauert (6th grade teacher).
We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of The Splendor Falls for this review.
Have you read The Splendor Falls? How would you rate it?