Edge of Ready by L.B. Tillit follows the story of Dani. Dani, a high school senior, wants to graduate, but that prospect keeps looking less and less likely to happen. Dani manages to juggle school with watching her baby brother while her mom works overtime; she is, after all, strong. But the odds are stacked against her, and a terrible tragedy befalls her. Is Dani strong enough?
I enjoyed Edge of Ready. I found the story pleasantly unpredictable and dramatic, with enough of twists and turns and ups and downs, while still maintaining a reasonable and believable flow of events which powerfully depicted human truths. Although Edge of Ready was full of many layers and turns of plot, it was a beautiful illustration of the power of brevity. Although only a small paperback — only 192 pages, with three-page chapters — it had remarkable depth, flow, and progression. Because of the smaller size, L.B. Tillit’s ideas in the book are compact and more powerful for it. Each word, phrase, and sentence has bucket loads of meaning packed in — the word to thought ratio is small, and this makes it more memorable and meaningful.
Not only was it well crafted, but the narrative voice was powerful. I could really hear Dani’s thoughts and ideas as she processed the events. She is a believable teenager, dealing with hardship, who is in the process of figuring out how to cope and be a strong person. We watch Dani struggle with ideas throughout the book. As she narrated, “I just wanted to move on, but there was something about Mrs. Grady that made me think I was missing something, I just couldn’t figure it out.” She is dealing with difficult events, and she does receive some guidance as to what to do, but the main point is Dani’s conclusions and thought processes as she herself deals with things.
The title was well chosen, perfectly describing the crux of the book. Dani is “on the edge of ready,” and we see her practice the ready better and better. One of the characters advises her, “Dani, whatever happens, life will go on. She paused, taking my queen off the boars. She looked at me and said, and you can handle it. I promise.” Edge of Ready by L.B. Tillit is an excellently written reminder that we are all practicing. No matter what happens, we must just continue pretending as if we had it all together, and as we practice, we get closer and closer to the edge of ready, until we, like Dani, will find ourselves no longer on the edge, but truly ready.
I would recommend Edge of Ready to older students looking for a meaningful, enjoyable portrayal of the power of living.
Reviewed by Madeleine Sullivan (age 17) for Reader Views Kids