Cliche novel, We Are the Goldens, disappoints

by Angelica Burr, Reporter

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We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt is just another cliché high school themed novel about two sisters who are creepily close to one another.

Nell and Layla Golden are close sisters and best friends. Layla is a junior in high school who seems to be the leader, always taking charge and getting more attention. Their parents share custody, but the girls favor their father’s supervision.

It’s Nell’s first year of high school and she’s excited for parties, boys, and adventures. She expects it to be great, but then the year takes the classic “unexpected turn.”

Reinhardt opens the story interestingly, making it seem as if the main character, Nell, is talking to a boy about a serious secret that she has.

The weird thing is that she’s talking to her sister, Layla. The whole novel is filled with Nell’s internal conversation with Layla, a junior. It made me extremely uncomfortable the way she thought about Layla’s whereabouts, almost as if Nell obsessed with her sister’s life.

This pre-publication version lacks a gripping plot. In my opinion, Nell and Layla are too interdependent. My sisters and I are close, but not that close. And when her sister seems a bit off, Nell goes insane and decides to investigate.

I think Nell is slightly crazy. She talks to her stuffed animals (seriously) and seems to be disturbed by their presence at times. She’s obsessive and lacks a social life, with only one close friend named Felix.

The plot revolves around her sister’s secret, a secret that could potentially ruin lives and even get some fired from their jobs.

Just like any other high school, rumors spread about both of the girls.

What struck me as particularly awful was the unrealistic teenage dialogue. For example,  this dialogue is exchanged between Nell and Felix, her best friend:

Early in the novel Felix criticizes Nell’s desire to play soccer. “Didn’t you get the memo that this is a hipster-urban high school? We’re supposed to go gender-bendy and write ironic poetry or whatever. We’re not supposed to try out for organized sports.”

I thought this was very annoying because it creates a stereotype of high schools that isn’t true.

The story has potential; however, it just seems as if the relationship between the Golden sisters need some adjustment, as well the storyline.  It’s hard to believe this is Reinhardt’s sixth novel.

This author has published six other titles, including:

  • A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life
  • Harmless
  • How to Build a House
  • The Things a Brother Knows
  • The Summer I Learned to Fly
  • Odessa Again

All of the stories above have to do with family issues and teen problems. They’ve all had positive reviews from well-known Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal.