Book Review: Knee Deep by Karol Hoeffner

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Rating: 5/5

Format: Paperback (Advanced Reader’s Copy)

Quick Take

Knee Deep is a literary storm of a novel wrapped in Mardi Gras beads and drenched in gumbo.  If you are a lover of New Orleans like I am, then you will fall head over heels for this delightful novel!

Tell Me More

I am someone who has always loved New Orleans and everything about it – but has never been – much to my chagrin.  However, I adore reading novels and watching documentaries about and set in NOLA, so I was super excited to come across Knee Deep and its delicious stew of New Orleans culture.

Knee Deep is written as an autobiography and follows a young girl named Camille who is the daughter of a New Orleans bar owner.  The novel takes place during Mardi Gras when Hurricane Katrina hits and Camille and her family lose their home.  Camille soon finds out that a neighbor with whom she is in love has also gone missing, bringing forth deep feelings of sadness and regret.  Knee Deep is largely a novel about the strength that New Orleans stands for as the community comes together to recuperate after the tragedy caused by Hurricane Katrina, mixed with an interracial romance and paranormal elements that connect to New Orleans voodoo.  If you are to read one novel about, and set in, New Orleans, then Knee Deep is it!  It doesn’t get much better than this.

Camille’s eternal optimism is infectious, and I fell in love with her instantly.  Named after a hurricane, her rebellious nature carries the story and mimicks the sassy nature of Mardi Gras and the culture of New Orleans.  Karol Hoeffner is a master storyteller in her ability to present New Orleans to those who have never experienced it firsthand in such a realistic way.  I also appreciated how she blended paranormal elements with realism to bring to life the voodoo spirituality that is such a big part of New Orleans history.  Knee Deep is highly sensual in that it encompasses all of the reader’s senses and drags them into the story face first.  One can almost hear the jazz music and feel the Mardi Gras beads around their neck as they become absorbed into the story.  Hoeffner’s ability to create a young adult novel, that is also an interracial romance, a historical fiction, and a paranormal thriller is astounding and creates a story that is unlike any other.  Hoeggner’s brilliant story took me on a ride I will never forget, and will happy to revisit again and again!

Knee Deep is a love letter to New Orleans that is written for young adults and new adults but will tug at the heartstrings of readers of all ages.  I have never read a novel that encompasses my senses and transports me into the story so well, and I feel honored to have been able to spend time in Karol Hoeffner’s world.  Her novel beautifully represents just about every element of New Orleans, while celebrating its people and the strength it took to rebuild and restore after the Hurricane Katrina tragedy.  I can’t recommend this novel enough, so I am just going to end my review by saying, go pick up this novel now!  You are in for one heck of a wild ride.

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