Katherine and Anna are two peas in a pod, two sisters that are so close together than only death can really tear them apart. After Anna's tragic death, Katherine is so filled with sorrow, anger, and guilt that her desire to live fades away; it takes a series of surprises and near-disasters for Katherine to find her way. As we ride through Katherine's memories and current life, the story of her and Anna is slowly unraveled, until the thing that we've all been dying (pardon the pun) to know about is finally revealed.
Dangerous Neighbors is a quietly powerful and poignant novel that kept me enthralled the whole time. It's a lot shorter than I expected it to be - only 166 pages - but I feel that its brevity only enriched the story. Once again, the main thing that stands out in this novel - and all of Beth Kephart's novels - is the writing. All of the words were so deliberately picked, the descriptions were like poetry, and awkward phrases were nonexistent. Kephart can put things into words that the rest of us cannot, and in such a beautiful and touching way as well.
The characters were also a strong point in this novel. I could relate so much to the main character, especially since I have a sister as well, and even if you don't have a sibling, the characters were so endearing. The variety of people was wonderful.
In addition, I loved the setting. I learned so much about the Philadelphia Centennial Fair of 1876 and so much about Philidelphia in general too. The scenery was breathtaking and the events that occurred in the book felt so real to me, just because I knew that many of them had actually taken place in history.
Beth Kephart has this fantastic knack for details that is hard to come by in authors, and her attention to the little things - the meeting of eyes, simple gestures and words - is what truly makes her an exceptional writer.