Winner of the 2011 Grassic Short Novel Prize
Now in it’s second edition, with an Afterward
Brandi second edition by Margaret Powers Milardo
Margaret Milardo draws on her teaching experience to create in Brandi a vividly realized and realistic portrait of a teenager who rises above her troubled background to become a successful, responsible, admirable, and even heroic individual. The story also is one of a person finding herself, not only who her parents were but more profoundly who she is as a unique and valuable individual–along the way offering a lesson of endurance to all of us.–Edward J. Rielly, author of Legends of American Indian Resistance.
Unhappy and rebellious, Brandi attracts trouble in and out of school. Fighting and drug abuse lead to suspension. Robbery and assault land her in a juvenile detention center, where she meets Muriel, a tough corrections officer who forms a relationship with the teen. Muriel helps Brandi begin to change her life.
Dean, a casual friend, drug user and supplier, as well as a battered son, causes mayhem at a school gathering and, as a result, enters the court system. He and Brandi develop a strong bond, which initially changes both their lives for the better. In a startling confrontation with his father, Dean embarks on a dangerous journey, and Brandi suffers a painful setback.
Brandi’s strength of character helps her reach an understanding of herself and of the world around her. She is a “typical teen” in many ways, in that no teen-ager is either typical or ordinary. She negotiates the pitfalls of young adulthood because of significant help from caring adults.
No Turning Back, a stand-alone sequel to Brandi, continues to delight the reader with great story-telling and a probing investigation into the development of a young woman. It is a fascinating multi-generational story of trust, love, and hope. It is rich and engaging, uniquely capturing Brandi’s teenage voice and transforming it into that of a woman’s.
The novel is a quiet, subtle tale of a young woman’s strength and integrity. Milardo artfully develops a delightful character in Brandi. Her life is a window into the soul of a modern young adult woman and will warm the hearts of readers of all ages. —Colleen Tierney is the author of two novels: The Weight of Coal and Lace and The Jacksonian Papers.
No Turning Back continues the story of Brandi and Muriel from author Margaret Milardo’s first book, Brandi. Although No Turning Back stands on its own, it is gratifying to know that Brandi is continuing to do well after her heartbreaking struggles in high school. Three years later, Brandi now has finished her junior year of college in Boston. She’s looking forward to an internship for the summer at a preppy college in Maine to tutor three incoming freshmen in writing. The settings may be idyllic, but can this girl attract trouble! Milardo knows how to tell a story. No Turning Back. is a well-plotted book that keeps the reader turning pages, anxious to come back for more. The richly drawn characters haunted me even after I finished it. It ends rather abruptly, with three of the major plot strands unresolved. What will happen with Brandi and Jay’s struggling
romance? Will Jay’s obsession with his “maybe step-sister” and his guilt over her mother’s fate interfere? And finally, will Chriz, one of Brandi’s
students, survive an accident? The missing parts left me wanting more: Another book, perhaps? It’s a compelling read that’s reinforced by the
developing relationships and the twists of plot. I recommend this book for teens, and their parents, as well as other readers. —Nancy Jordan, Librarian
If you enjoyed Brandi, Milardo’s award-winning novel, you’ll love No Turning Back. Readers will see themselves in this engaging story; they’ll find this book difficult to put down. —John D. Drake, best-selling author of Act II: The Unpredictable Adventures of a Young Widow
No Turning Back, Margaret Milardo’s second novel featuring a young woman named Brandi, is a riveting narrative in which Brandi faces a series of challenges, including a new love after the death of her former boyfriend, a college internship as a tutor that ends with one of her students fighting for his life in a hospital and another fleeing a criminal investigation, and an attempted sexual assault. Throughout, Brandi struggles to balance realism and idealism in the aftermath of her earlier struggles to escape what has threatened to become a dead-end street for her. —Edward J. Rielly, Professor of English and Director of the Writing and Publishing Program, St. Joseph’s College of Maine