YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Publication Date: 6th Oct. 2009
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Silver star (3.5/5 stars)

Synopsis: Zoom in on thirteen-year-old Dani Callanzano. The summer before eighth grade, Dani is stuck in her nothing-ever-happens town with only her favorite noir mysteries at the Little Art movie theatre to keep her company. But one day a real-life mystery begins to unravel—at the Little Art! And it all has something to do with a girl in polka-dot tights… Armed with a vivid imagination, a flair for the dramatic, and a knowledge of all things Rita Hayworth, Dani sets out to solve the mystery and learns more about herself than she ever thought she would.

Review: Dani Noir was fun read. Dani was this feisty, charming, bluntly honest, thirteen year old protagonist who was definitely the type of people who liked to ‘take charge’ of things and not wait for things to happen. She does seem quite dramatic at times but I suspect it’s due to the fact that she loves watching movies and imagining herself in the movies. I quite liked her bubbly unique personality. Dani’s anger and frustrations were understandable and so were her struggles. Her best friend moved away and now she’s friendless. The secondary characters were very well developed. I liked Taylor, Elissa and basically all the good people. 😉

I was disappointed that the mystery was easily solved. I was expecting something more exciting? But I still love the wacky things Dani did to investigate the mystery. It kept me hooked to this book and I simply could not put it down! I read while eating my lunch, it wasn’t until I finished the book when I finally put it down.

One thing that took me by surprise was the mention of Facebook. From the beginning, I had the impression that the town was old-fashioned and the coolest thing there were cell phones. But with the mention of Facebook, I felt the story became inconsistent. Facebook is a modern website that everyone uses, so why doesn’t Little Arts theatre show other films besides those noir films? That was my only problem with Dani Noir. Other than that, I really enjoyed this book. Reading Dani’s witty dialogues and thoughts had me laughing aloud several times.

Dani Noir is an original and enjoyable novel which I recommend to middle graders and adults alike. You will be surprise about some of the topics covered in this novel. Dani Noir is not as ‘fluffy’ and ‘light’ as you probably expect it to be.

Favorite quote: “Rita Hayworth would have eaten Jessica Alba alive.”


Comments on: "Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma" (2)

  1. This was such a cute read, I really enjoyed it. Loved that quote. Hilarious! Great review!

  2. i loved this book!

    i definitely see it as being more of a ‘coming of age’ story than a ‘mystery’ as it’s been tagged by some.

    i found how the author used the mixture of modern day things (like facebook and cellphones) with old, noir films and dani’s current story, really really interesting. (also, i think that the theater does show other modern films, but are doing a summer noir series, but i’d have to go back and check).

    either way, it’s so true to the voice (what a wonderful voice!) and something i really think tween readers will absolutely adore!

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