Whistling Past the Graveyard - Susan Crandall This was a strange little novel and I'm not sure how I feel about it just yet, so this review might change.

The book is about a young girl in 1960 Mississippi. Starla's mother ran away to chase stardom in Nashville and her father works aboard an oil rig, so Starla is left with her strict, proper Southern Lady grandmother. Starla is a precocious child and when her grandmother decides to send her to reform school, Starla decides to run away to find her mother in Nashville.

There's a lot going on in this book. It's a coming of age novel about yearning and loving someone to whom you are not a priority, but it's also about the complicated race relations of a specific time and place. Starla is a great character and narrator. She's precocious, insightful, scared, and realistic. I rather enjoyed her conflict with her grandmother, as I could genuinely understand both sides of the story: my grandmother doesn't accept me for who I am versus my granddaughter is too ornery for her own good and it's not my responsibility to deal with this anymore.

The story gets crazy in the middle, though, and I can't decide how I feel about these turn of events. Much of what happens feels too over the top, too harrowing, and I couldn't quite get a grip on exactly what Crandall wanted her reader to feel.

I need some time to think about the plot a bit more before I decide for sure how I feel about this one so be sure to check back with me.