I received an ARC of this book from Penguin Publishing in exchange for an honest review.. "Seven Deadlies" is the story of the seven deadly sins as interpreted by a fourteen year old girl who uses her life experience tutoring other students as the basis from which she draws her conclusions about the ways in which other people live. The biggest influence in Perry Gonzalez's life is her mother, Yelena Maria Gonzalez, who makes her living as an RN. Perry has a very full life as a tutor and a student herself, so she doesn't have a lot of friends her own age, and she has no siblings. As a result, she becomes close to and involved in the lives of those she tutors as well as the lives of their families. Whenever she becomes confused by the twists and turns her student's lives take, she turns to her mother who always helps her with wise advice about troublesome behavior.
Perry Gonzalez is a very, very smart girl both in measurable IQ numbers as well as people skills. She is only fourteen years old, but she has written these stories as her admission letter to Bennington School where she would like to continue her education and dream of becoming a writer after she graduates from Mark Frost Academy. Currently Perry attends Mark Frost Academy on a scholarship since she comes from a one parent, underprivileged background. In spite of the fact that everyone else at Perry's school has far more material glam than she does, Perry is content making $40 an hour tutoring and watching her bank balance grow. She says she wants to be sure she has some spending money when she gets to Bennington.
The stories Perry tells about Lust, Wrath, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Envy, and Pride are all well thought out. Some of the stories are hilarious, some are grim, and one in particular I thought was heartbreaking. All of the stories showcase Gigi Levangie's ability to write from the perspective of a young, teenaged girl who has a good imagination and a talent for story telling. The surnames Perry gives her people were often hilarious, and even though I should probably contain myself better at my age, I still get the giggles over Porscha Crisp Blogsnot. Never mind trying to say that out loud. I just can't do it.
All of this, in my view, adds up to a quirky, funny, interesting, and very entertaining book. It reminded me somewhat of the movie Se7en, only without all the blood and the box at the end. The book even has a Brad Pitt kinda guy! And then I came to the last two chapters. After reading them, I had to go back to read them again. Then I had to sit for a bit and think about all I'd read. There's a twist at the end that stunned me. It didn't change my mind about how good I think this book is; it did make me view it, however, from a different angle. It also made me cry. Add to that the wonderful, stark, haunting images from Cecelia Ruiz, and I think this is one of the best books I've read in a while. I look forward to catching up on Gigi Levangie's previous work as well as anything she does in the future. Seven Deadlies is definitely a keeper.