Fortune of Carmen Navarro

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2010
A beautiful green-eyed Gypsy girl with raven-black hair smiles at Ryan Sweeney and gives him a rose as she makes change for his sandwiches at the Quikmart, and it’s all downhill for Ryan after that. A cadet at Valley Forge Military Academy, Ryan has always been serious and studious, his eyes set on West Point, but his sheltered existence leaves him defenseless against the charms of Carmen Navarro, a fiercely independent young woman who dreams of making it big with her band, the Gypsy Lovers, and has no interest in a relationship that will make her feel “like a hawk tied to a perch.” In a departure from her novels in verse, Bryant tells a tragic love story—based on Mérimée’s novella and Bizet’s opera Carmen—in traditional prose but with four voices: Carmen’s, Ryan’s and two friends’, who look on from an emotional distance. Perfectly paced and pulsing with Ryan’s increasingly desperate obsession, the tale follows the inevitable trajectory of violence and tragedy, and readers will consume the tale in one hungry gulp. (author’s note, bibliography) (Fiction. 12 & up)

Richie's Picks, October 2010
While others may characterize The Fortune of Carmen Navarro as a tale of tragic love, I cannot help but see it, instead, as the triumph of a girl with guts who is making her way on her own terms.
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