July 2010 Indie Next List
“Kephart turns her attention to historical fiction in her latest novel for teens. Katherine is reeling from the death of her twin sister. Wracked by feelings of guilt and betrayal, Katherine is trying to end her life. The tension between past and future is what really makes this novel shine. Readers will find themselves immersed in the 1800s, captivated by Kephart's writing, and rooting for Katherine the whole way.”
— Mandy King, The Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO
It is 1876, the year of the Centennial in Philadelphia. Katherine has lost her twin sister Anna in a tragic skating accident. One wickedly hot September day, Katherine sets out for the exhibition grounds to cut short the haunted life she no longer wants to live.
Filled with vivid detail that artfully brings the past to life, National Book Award nominee Beth Kepart's DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS is a timeless and finely crafted novel about betrayal and guilt, hope and despair, love, loss, and new beginnings.
Publisher's Weekly Starred Review
Set in Philadelphia against the back-drop of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition (the first World's Fair in the U.S.), this atmospheric novel traces the sentiments of grief-stricken Katherine, whose identical twin sister, Anna, died in a tragic accident earlier in the year. As the novel opens, Katherine, who feels responsible for Anna's death, has decided to take her own life. Again and again, she is drawn to the exhibition grounds. Here, futuristic marvels and unexpected events-including a disastrous fire- detain her from completing her suicidal mission. Losing herself in a throng of strangers, she examines her past, recalling the development of her sister's secret romance with a dangerous neighbor and the final sequence of events that led to Anna's death. Conjuring sharp, meticulously detailed images of fair exhibitions ( The wonders of the world slide past. Parisian corsets cavorting on their pedestals. Vases on lacquered shelves. Folding beds. Walls of cutlery. The sweetest assortment of sugar-colored pills, all set to sail on a yacht ), Kephart ("The Heart is Not a Size") evokes a tantalizing portrait of love, remorse, and redemption. Ages 12-up. ("Aug.")
About the Author
Beth Kephart is the author of 10 books, including the National Book Award finalist A Slant of Sun; the Book Sense pick Ghosts in the Garden; the autobiography of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River, Flow; the acclaimed business fable Zenobia; and the critically acclaimed novels for young adults, Undercover and House of Dance. A third YA novel, Nothing but Ghosts, is due out in June 2009. And a fourth young adult novel, The Heart Is Not a Size, will be released in March 2010. "The Longest Distance," a short story, appears in the May 2009 HarperTeen anthology, No Such Thing as the Real World.
Kephart is a winner of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fiction grant, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Leeway grant, a Pew Fellowships in the Arts grant, and the Speakeasy Poetry Prize, among other honors. Kephart's essays are frequently anthologized, she has judged numerous competitions, and she has taught workshops at many institutions, to all ages. Kephart teaches the advanced nonfiction workshop at the University of Pennsylvania. You can visit her online at www.beth-kephart.blogspot.com.