Life echoes art in this sassy, heartwrenching coming-of-age story from the author of Imaginary Girls.
It’s summer and Dani Callanzano has been abandoned by everyone she knows. Her dad moved out, her mom is all preoccupied being broken-hearted, and her closest friend just moved away. Basically it’s the end of the world.
At least she has the Little Art, her favorite local arthouse movie theater. Dani loves all the old black-and-white noir thrillers with their damsels in distress and their low camera angles. It also doesn’t hurt that Jackson, the guy who works the projection reel, is super cute and nice and funny. And completely off-limits, of course—he’s Dani’s friend’s boyfriend, and they are totally, utterly perfect together.
But one day, Dani stumbles across a shocking secret about Jackson—a secret too terrible for her to keep. She finds herself caught in the middle of a love triangle with enough drama to rival the noir-est film noir she’s ever seen.
Thirteen-year-old Danielle (Dani) Callanzano's personality is too big for Shanosha, N.Y., "a small town where everybody and their dog knows who you are." Her only refuge from the hot, boring summer is the Little Art movie theater's Summer of Noir film series. She loves to lose herself in the dramas and striking beauty of stars like Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner, as an escape from her parents' divorce, her father's sudden engagement and her best friend's move. When a mysterious girl wearing polka-dot tights appears in town without explanation, Dani investigates, focusing on Jackson, the theater's 17-year-old projectionist, in hopes of tracking down the "femme fatale" and finding the truth. "If there's anything I've learned from noir movies it's that everyone lies about something," Dani muses. Her imagination, angry determination and cinematic narration ("if this were a scene in a movie.... It would be deep night, the only light from a few sparse streetlamps. There'd be a whole sea of shadows") propel the story. Suma's watertight debut displays an expert balance of the realities of teenage life, humor and intrigue. Ages 9 14.