Fade Out by Nova Ren Suma

Posted January 26, 2014 by Kaitlynn in 3 stars, middle grade, mystery, Nova Ren Suma, review, standalone / 4 Comments

book cover of Fade Out by Nova Ren Suma

Title: Fade Out
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Release date: September 17, 2009
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 272
Source: Bookstore
Reading level: MG

If this were a movie, you’d open to the first page of this book and be transported to a whole other world. Everything would be in black and white, except maybe for the girl in pink polka-dot tights, and this really great music would start to swell in the background. All of a sudden, you wouldn’t be able to help it–you’d be a part of the story, you’d be totally sucked in. You’d be in this place, filled with big lies, mysterious secrets, and a tween girl turned sleuth….

Zoom in on thirteen-year-old Dani Callanzano. It’s the summer before eighth grade, and Dani is stuck in her nothing-ever-happens town with only her favorite noir mysteries at the Little Art movie theater 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 her knowledge of all things Rita Hayworth, Dani sets out to solve the mystery, and she learns more about herself than she ever thought she could.

After hearing such good things about Nova Ren Suma’s books I had high hopes for Fade Out.  I’m sad to say that I was a bit disappointed with this one.  The writing was good it was the story that really let me down but I won’t be giving up on Nova Ren Suma’s other books.
Fade Out is definitely a middle grade novel and I knew that going into it but I think I expected something a bit more mature than what I got.  Dani is a very immature girl.  She doesn’t have a very realistic outlook and she acts her age, that’s for sure.  Ever since her dad left her mom for another woman she doesn’t trust men and that applies to all men.  When she thinks that her friends boyfriend might be cheating on her she decides to take it upon herself to find out and prove it to her friend.  Let’s just say that Dani takes stalker to a whole new level and her motives are not exactly as pure as she wants people to think.  She really is rather selfish and it’s hard to like Dani.  She was definitely my biggest problem with the book.
The whole story in Fade Out is Dani trying to prove that her friend’s boyfriend is cheating on her.  That is literally the whole story with some films thrown in for good measure.  From the summary I expected there to be some deep dark murderous secret that Dani uncovers but no.  It’s just the fact that he’s cheating.  I was really let down by that and the story was pretty boring.  There just wasn’t enough going on to keep me interested and I found myself rushing through the story just because I wanted to be done with it.  I think that most readers my age or older will feel the same way but middle grade readers will probably enjoy this one and it’s a great read for younger teens.
Overall, Fade Out really let me down.  While I was definitely impressed with the writing, that was the only thing that impressed me.  Hopefully I find Nova Ren Suma’s other books to be more to my taste because this one just wasn’t.
What others are saying about Fade Out:
Reading Nook’s review: “It was a fun romp with a teen sleuth in a small town.”

Confessions of a Bibliovore’s review: “I truly hope that Suma writes more books like Dani Noir.”

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4 responses to “Fade Out by Nova Ren Suma

  1. I never knew that this book was MG. Now that I know that I can change my expectations of it and wire myself into thinking that this book might be a bit silly (like you said, in regards to the main character, who seems to act a bit stupid) and just roll with it. I still haven’t picked up a Nova Ren Suma book, though I do own Imaginary Girls. It would be interesting to see your thoughts about that once you get around to reading it!

  2. I often find I just can’t enjoy MG books; there’s a level of maturity that’s lacking (which makes sense), and I just can’t get past it. I’m sure 13-year old Kelly would have loved this though!

  3. Christina Kit.

    Nova’s style is so unique and her stories so different I think you have to go into them expecting something completely out there. She’s an awesome writer though, and her concepts are interesting.

    Lovely review 🙂

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