The Starry-Eyed Cave Girl

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Vertis Nephew’s The Starry-Eyed Cave Girl is a well-written short novel, with intriguing and realistic characters and a mostly-engaging plotline. The Guzmans could be any modern American family, beginning to slip further away from each other. There are five main characters here, which might be a little much for this short book. Vanessa is clearly the best-rounded character; there are more chapters devoted to her story than there are for any of the other characters. Her journey of self-discovery is inspirational, and the elements of philosophy and personal/familial history make the story she writes authentic, as evidenced from the excerpts. Vanessa is the only character who gets any actual sense of closure in this book.

The next best-developed characters are her brothers, Cesar and Alex. Cesar dreams of being a football star, but his performance is lacking. He wonders if he might need a backup plan to get through college, but never comes up with any ideas. His rigid insistence on avoiding the party scene is admirable but somewhat unrealistic in a high school atmosphere dominated by cliques and bad behavior. Alex spends his time infatuated with a classmate, but is paralyzed by the thought of connecting with her. He gets credit for asking his sister for help, but the book ends with him having never even struck up conversation with the classmate. Alex’s connection to the bully is another loose end; it’s unlikely that Ramon would have stopped at one act of minor intimidation. Juan and Yancy, the parents, are the least-developed of all the characters. Juan remains in a seemingly dead-end job, while Yancy’s conclusion seems to come completely out of the blue.

It’s clear Nephew spent much time crafting this story, and while it is still a little rough around the edges, it is nonetheless a joy to read.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 157 pages
Publisher Xlibris
Publish Date 21-Aug-2009
ISBN 9781441555564 Buy this Book
Issue December 2010
Category Popular Fiction


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