THE SILVER BLONDE, by Elizabeth Ross, Delacorte Press, July 27, 2021, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult, ages 14 and up)
The murder of a Hollywood star is the backdrop for Elizabeth Ross’ new young adult novel, The Silver Blonde.
Hollywood, 1946. The war is over, and eighteen-year-old Clara Berg spends her days shelving reels as a vault girl at Silver Pacific Studios, with all her dreams pinned on getting a break in film editing. That and a real date with handsome yet unpredictable screenwriter Gil. But when she returns a reel of film to storage one night, Clara stumbles across the lifeless body of a woman in Vault 5. The costume, the makeup, the ash-blond hair are unmistakable — it has to be Babe Bannon, A-list star. And it looks like murder.
Suddenly Clara’s world is in free-fall, her future in movies upended — not to mention that her refugee parents are planning to return to Germany and don’t want her to set foot on the studio lot again. As the Silver Blonde murder ignites Tinseltown, rumors and accusations swirl. The studio wants a quick solve, but the facts of the case keep shifting. Nothing is what it seems — not even the victim.
Clara finds herself drawn, inevitably, to the murder investigation, and the dark side of Hollywood. But how far is she willing to go to find the truth? —Synopsis provided by Delacorte Press
The star of The Silver Blonde isn’t someone on the silver screen, rather it’s the girl working behind the scenes. Clara is the determined protagonist who wants it all. She’s smart, inquisitive and courageous. She’s the kind of character you can’t help root for, and she’s written in such a way that you can practically see her walking in front of you.
In fact, the entire novel plays out almost like the movies Clara wants to help create. Author Elizabeth Ross’ cinematic prose has a sweeping noir feel to it. Ross’ pacing ebbs and flows with the action, creating dynamic highlights and thoughtful pauses throughout.
The only thing I didn’t like about The Silver Blonde was its title, which made sense in context, but didn’t catch my attention upfront.
Once you start The Silver Blonde you won’t want to put it down. It’s a glamorous read that should appeal to young adults, new adults and adults alike.
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