Published by Coward McCann on January 1, 1972
Genres: Contemporary, YA Rewind, Retro, Vintage YA, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: Beat the Backlist 2019, Monthly Motif 2019
During a summer in Maine, a teenage girl learns many things about herself through her relationship to two different boys.
The ‘quiet place’ gives young Cindy an opportunity to search her feelings and try to come to a decision about her future. She is vacationing in Maine with her divorced father and happy in her relationship with local farm families. Cindy is particularly drawn to Ike Thorne, a kind and worthwhile boy, but she’s also involved with Mark, another summer visitor. Mark is sexually exciting and Cindy finds him hard to resist even though she knows he’s bad news….
A Quiet Place by Peter D. Burchard wasn’t a bad book necessarily but it just felt kinda… pointless? Not really sure how I felt about it. Lots of meaningless descriptions and very little in the way of plot or characterization. I came out of the book not knowing a single thing about the characters – I felt that far removed from them.
The story centres around Cindy a young girl who is torn between two young men: the exciting and dangerous Mark, and the sweet and safe Ike. Cindy flits between these two young men – she cares a great deal for Ike (or so we are told) yet finds Mark tantalizing (again, this is told but not really shown).
The synopsis puts a great deal of emphasis on Cindy’s connection with each boy but I never got a particularly strong sense that she liked either of them? She told many people that she was very fond of Ike and his family but I never really saw much connection there.
As for Mark – he is supposed to be the troubled ‘bad boy’ but this did not come across in the text at all. He is rude certainly, and drives his car way too fast – which becomes a plot point later on – but otherwise he just felt really bland. Ike is even more of a cardboard cutout – he is just there and that is all I could really say about him.
Cindy was also very one-dimensional. She claimed to have a lot of dreams and a longing for adventure but this is never really conveyed with any great detail in the text. She is a flat character and even though she was the focal point, I couldn’t get a read on her at all and you never really got an insight into her inner thoughts of feelings.
The book opens with describing her as ‘the girl’ and she felt like ‘the girl’ right until the end – not a real, live person at all.
I was expecting to enjoy this one as the description sounding rather interesting and I was looking forward to seeing a different ‘take’ on the traditional love triangle that has become so prevalent in young adult novels today. I was sorely disappointed by how thin the characterization was and the plot… well, there wasn’t much of a plot at all; just a series of events described in endless, mundane detail.
Don’t let the synopsis fool you either – I couldn’t parse out just what ‘decision’ Cindy came to about which boy to go for (or indeed, if she decided to not bother with either of them). Nor what her future entailed. By the end, I really didn’t care either!
It might be the old-fashioned writing style (but that usually isn’t a problem for me so I doubt it) but this book just didn’t really speak much to me at all. The writing itself wasn’t terrible – it just didn’t draw me in. I believe the author has a couple of highly regarded novels (which are probably more to my taste) so I will probably try another of his works at some point.
I borrowed this one from the Library and I’m glad I never actually spent time (or money!) tracking this down (and I normally love collecting vintage YA titles). Definitely will not be adding this to my permanent collection, that’s for sure!
Some interesting ideas but a poor execution and paper-thin characters kept me from getting immersed in this book. My first disappointing read of 2019.
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