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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Reading Adult Book Review: Visitation Street

Cover of Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda
Book Title: Visitation Street

Author: Ivy Pachoda

Review: Visitation Street is the debut novel by Ivy Pachoda, who lived for a time in the neighborhood she describes so vividly in the story. Val and June are 15-year old friends residing in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. One hot summer night, they decide to take a raft out into the bay. The next morning, Val is found on the dirty beach barely alive and June is missing. The loss of June is really more of a backdrop or a frame for a brilliant description of life in the big city. The descriptions of people, places, sounds and smells are luscious and eloquent. The characters and their neighborhood are brought to life as the story meanders through their lives.

The fundamental ‘mystery’ plot itself never really rises to enthralling but merely seems to serve to propel the characters along the way. In some ways, this is almost the meta-story--we often are just rafts in a current and we ride more often than we paddle and life happens around us and to us and not necessarily because of us.

Around the middle of the story, I felt a bit like being on a treadmill--I kept reading, but the scenery never changed. However, after the mid-book doldrums, the story picked back up and accelerated toward the climax and ending. This is hardly action-packed or fast-paced--read it for the descriptions and the characters. It is a satisfying read.

Reviewed by: Gordon Paisley

Find Visitation Street in our catalog.

(Note: Adults participating in Summer Reading who submit an original review of one of the books they've read will be entered into a special prize drawing. To find out more, stop by the Reference Desk, or simply email a review of at least one paragraph in length to:


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