Title: Dawn
Author: Kevin Brooks
ISBN: 9780545060905
Pages: 250 pages
Publisher/Date: Chicken House, c2009.

It doesn’t mean anything, OK? Killing God — it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a thing, that’s all. Just an idea, something to do, something to keep me occupied. (And, no, it’s not a New Year’s resolution, either.) I just like doing things that keep my mind off the things I don’t want to think about (or, to be more specific, the thing I don’t want to think about).

Dawn Bundy, who just turned fifteen, is trying to be invisible. For two years, she has lived with her ear buds on and her hoodie pulled up, talking only to her two dogs Mary and Jesus. She blames God for her father’s actions because he became born-again after becoming a drug addict but before disappearing from their house two years ago. Dawn has no friends, which is why she’s suspicious when the two most popular girls in school invite her to a party, then show up to her house that night with alcohol. Even though her father isn’t there, memories of him still haunt her alcoholic mother, which threaten to resurface at the worst possible time.

I’d hate to scar the memory of J.D. Salinger, especially due to his recent death (I read this a week ago, and that’s what I get for pocrastinating my blogging.), but the sarcasm and and “teen-angst” attitude reminded me very much of Catcher in the Rye. Granted, Dawn and Holden are VERY different people, but the attitude struck me as similar.

So when people as me why my dogs are called Jesus and Mary, that’s what I tell them–they’re named after my favorite band. And it’s true. [The Jesus and Mary Chain] But it’s also true that when I first got Jesus and Mary, we had some Christians living next door to us called Mr. and Mrs. Garth […] So I called my dogs Jesus and Mary because I knew it would annoy them. And it did. Especially at night, when it was nice and quiet, and I’d let my dogs out for a wee, and then I’d have to stand at the back door whistling and calling them in — “JESUS! MARY! C’MON, JESUS! HURRY UP!”

The story draws out the internal struggles that Dawn faces with a psychological dialogue of how exactly to kill God when in fact Dawn believes he doesn’t exist. She buys a Bible in the hopes that it will help her formulate a plan, but gets entangled with Taylor and Mel, the “queen bees” at school. Events throttle to a gripping but clunky ending, with the last 50 pages walloping a turn events that I’m sure most readers wouldn’t see coming.