The Virgin Suicides

Second place winner, Belmont Teen Read Week Book Review Contest 2001 Prize: $15 gift certificate for Newbury Comics

Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
Reviewer's Age: Grade 10

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides is the poignant, gripping story of teenage conflicts. The Lisbon girls, enigmas to their small 1970's suburb, become the centers of their neighbors' interest when the youngest sister kills herself and the others are ultimately forbidden to leave the house. The dramatic yet expected end of the novel has the four other girls committing suicide jointly. While no one can deny that suicide is a dark, haunting subject for a work of fiction, Eugenides avoids making death an overarching theme and instead keeps it in the back of the reader's mind throughout. He focuses on the personalities of the girls, the town, and the boys who are enamored with them, so that the reader can really feel a part of the story. Eugenides is a skilled storyteller, and even those who have seen the movie will find the book unique and moving, despite it's disturbing theme.