The Mitochondrial Curiosities of Marcels 1-9 by Jocelyn Brown is a young adult novel about Andrea, or Dree. She spends her fifteenth birthday at an awkward memorial service for her recently diseased father. She should have been on a scavenger hunt for a special fund of money he had promised to give her for her birthday. His fatal heart attack has derailed Dree’s plans. The strained relationships and Dree’s own feeling of disconnect from everyone else make a difficult time even more challenging. Neat craft projects and a mystery to solve are extra bonuses for readers of this coming of age novel for the modern teen.
I admit it; I picked up this book because of its cover. The strange title combined with the image of a freshly crafted sock puppet raised my curiosity, and I am very glad that I gave in to it. This book is not just good for teen readers, it is also great for anyone that can look back at those years and laugh at their own teenage angst. Dree is a delightfully spunky teen that is looking to find her place and keep a piece of her less than perfect father with her despite his flaws. Her creativity and outlook is unique, but not unbelievable. I could understand her lack of connection with her peers and struggles in her home life. The interactions and imagined versions of them fit together with my own mindset that I could completely relate to her confusion.
I highly recommend this book to all teenage girls, their families and anyone that vaguely remembers being a teenager. I think those teen that enjoy crafting, do not fit the mold of what is expected of them, will especially relate to Dree. The book is short, but emotion and action are packed tightly in. It is not a quick, easy read. However, despite the heavy subject and emotions the book was still fun and enjoyable.