Book reviewer extraordinaire!

The Land of 10,000 Madonnas

by Kate Hattemer

Alfred A. Knopf, New York


Jessee is chronically ill and his last wish is for his girlfriend, best friend, and three of his cousins (who are also his best friends) to embark on a quest, of sorts. None are too happy about it but out of love for their friend they agree.

After the first couple of chapters:

So far, I like Cal. She seems to be a bright, caring friend, even if she is Jesse’s cousin. Previous reviews weren’t so great but it is starting out well. Two kids with an awesome friendship, one kid’s very ill.


The concept of the book, the story, was great; however, I did not always enjoy the execution. I think middle and high school students would enjoy the book of tragedy, love, and friendship. The ending was a little ethereal and left be pretty empty. My strong readers who are looking for deep emotion in what they read would be disappointed.


Jessee – the glue that bonds the others

Cal – best friend and cousin since birth

Lillian – girlfriend, hard-ass, and the author makes sure we all know she is black, not from a privileged background, typical angry black woman profile left me ambivalent

Matt – best friend, not great character development until later in the book and it was typical jock-ish

Ben – OCD, nearly Autistic-syndrome-like, reminded me of a teenage Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory TV show, older than Jesse

Trevor – Jesse’s older cousin and Cal’s big brother, no real character development in relation to Jesse, his connection seems to be to Cal and as her brother, comic relief

Parents in the book all seem inept and, although caring, let their kids go unchaperoned. Cal, Lillian, and Matt have all just graduated from High School and Ben and Trevor are college seniors. Ben is the only really mature character in the bunch and yet I felt he was socially immature.

Very unrealistic.

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