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Strings Attached

Teens (and their parents) will love Judy Blundell’s stylish noir thriller set in 1950s New York.

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Young Adult
Strings Attached
By Judy Blundell
Scholastic
320 pp.

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High school dropout Kit Corrigan might not be able to spell femme fatale, but she’s unwittingly being groomed for the role.

It’s 1950, and the 17-year-old protagonist of Judy Blundell’s new novel Strings Attached has run away from Providence, R.I., to New York after a blowup that caused her boyfriend and her triplet brother to enlist to fight the Korean War.

Kit’s been on stage since she could toddle, as her father tried to turn “the Corrigan Three” into sponsorship gold. (It worked better when they were babies.) But the Great White Way has so far led to a series of disgusting rooming houses, friends’ couches, and a part in the chorus of the second-rate “That Girl from Scranton!”

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Then her boyfriend’s father, Nate “The Nose” Benedict, shows up at a performance. He just happens to have an apartment sitting empty and would love Kit to be able to use it until Billy gets home to marry her. (Kit neglects to mention that she and Billy broke up before she ran away.)

Nate also has a line on a job as a showgirl at the hottest club in town. Oh, and could she call him if Billy contacts her? And would she mind storing the occasional suitcase in the apartment for a few hours until someone can pick it up? And could she let him know when certain “businessmen” might be dining at the Lido?

Despite her growing unease, Kit keeps saying yes. “Life gives you plenty of chances to be stupid, and I’d taken every single one of them.”

Kit might not be bookish or introspective – she leaves that to her sister, Muddie – but she’s got what they used to call moxie. (Characters keep comparing the redhead to Rita Hayworth, but she reminded me more of a young Lauren Bacall.)

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