Zen & Xander Undone by Kathleen Ryan
Zen and Xander Vogel are sisters, but are more importantly best friends. The girls are as different as night and day, and are coping with the death of their mom over a year ago in equally disparate ways. Xander is a near genious on her way to MIT or CalTech to study science in the fall. But since her mother died she has become out of control, drinking and staying out late and generally being self-destructive. Zen, on the other hand, has immersed herself in her karate training, but keeps finding herself using her black belt skills to kick some serious butt, not realizing her deep anger has something to do with her mom’s death. Their dad, a professor at the local university, has taken a year off 0ff to grieve, but has essentially locked himself away in their basement being of little parental support for his two broken-hearted girls.
Add to the mix a mystery about their mother’s past that the girl’s are compelled to solve, and you have the makings for a touching book, that still has a good plot line and keeps your interest until the end. What I especially appreciated about Ryan’s writing is that the voices of her characters feel honest and realistic, whether it is an angry teenager or a burned out auntie.