The Opposite of Hallelujah
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The Opposite of Hallelujah

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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  563 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Caro Mitchell considers herself an only child—and she likes it that way. After all, her much older sister, Hannah, left home eight years ago, and Caro barely remembers her. So when Caro’s parents drop the bombshell news that Hannah is returning to live with them, Caro feels as if an interloper is crashing her family. To her, Hannah’s a total stranger, someone who haunts th...more
Hardcover, 452 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Delacorte Press
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Reynje
But sister, it's the opposite of hallelujah
It's the opposite of being you
You don't know 'cause it just passes right through you
You don't know what I'm going through
So goes the title track of Jens Leckman’s 2005 EP, The Opposite of Hallelujah. It’s also one of two epigraphs that appear in Anna Jarzab’s sophomore novel, which shares the name. The song is deceptively upbeat, almost perky, yet the lyrics beautifully fit Jarzab’s contemplative and sincere novel about faith, grief and familial rel...more
Anna
Apr 27, 2014 Anna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
Obviously I think this book is amazing because I wrote it, but it's not like you're looking to me for an objective opinion about it or anything. Five stars!
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Dec 14, 2012 Christina (A Reader of Fictions) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who want to see real families in YA
Recommended to Christina (A Reader of Fictions) by: Katie Tuccelli
Going into The Opposite of Hallelujah, I had mildly high expectations, knowing that my friend Katie of Blook Girl loved it. Still, I wasn't so sure about the subject matter, and just really didn't know that much about it, since I pretty scrupulously avoid reviews of books I plan to read, even from my favorite reviewers. Katie was completely right about this book. The Opposite of Hallelujah gave me so many feels: sadness, awkwardness, hope, and fangirling happiness.

My very favorite thing about Th...more
Kelly
I rarely say this, but after 450 pages of this book, I actually wanted about 100 or 150 more. Jarzab's story had me hooked and her writing was well-paced and engaging but there were a few things that felt like they could have used a little more development to take this from a good book to a great book.

Also, this is one of the most misleading book descriptions I've read in a long time.

Caro has pretended her sister doesn't exist for 12 years. She never mentions Hannah because the one time she did...more
Isamlq
2.5/5

What’s interesting is how absolutely unlikeable Caro started out to be, yet I continued hoping that there was something more to the girl. Seeing herself as an only child is what starts it all: she’s spoiled, whiny and all the flaws pointed out in her were accurate. From lying to being self unwilling to bend, I was seriously hard pressed in finding anything to like in her. Bit by bit though I could see a little into her why’s.

The interaction with her family, her sister and mother especially...more
Sandy
I loved the cover of this book and the font on the front was calling me. Something about having your sister move away to be a nun and then suddenly moving back home because she has decided that was not “her calling”, it got me to thinking. What would cause someone to finally decide to switch gears and move back home after 8 years of being in a convent and how would that be for everyone involved? There had to be a deeper mystery involved and I was ready to spend a few days with my nose inside thi...more
Liviania
Anna Jarzab's sophomore novel is a contemporary that doesn't resemble most of the others I've been reading lately. For one thing, the romantic plotline isn't the focus. Protagonist Caro Mitchell's relationship with her sister and her parents is much more important to the story. But it's also about Caro and her relationship to herself, who she wants to be and what she believes.

Caro isn't always the most likeable character. She lies, a lot, and like most habitual liars she does it for stupid reaso...more
Cambria Rowland
I loved this book! The story centers around sixteen year old Caro, whose life as an only child is interrupted by the return of her much older sister, Hannah, who has moved home after suddenly leaving a convent and life as a nun. As Caro struggles to deal with her changing family dynamic, she must also navigate the rest of her teenage life – friends, school, and of course, boys.

One of my favorite things about this book is the way it shifts back and forth between Caro's two worlds. On one hand is...more
Megan
The Opposite of Hallelujah
October 9, 2012
Random House Children's Books
464 pgs

Caro Mitchell was a just young girl when her older sister, Hannah, left home to join a cloistered convent. Hannah never really explained her reasons for becoming a nun and now, eight years later, she is not offering an explanation for her sudden arrival back home. Caro has gone from feeling like an only child to sharing her home with a stranger. The sisters' relationship is strained and awkward, to say the least. Car...more
Lalitha
Anna Jarzab writes eloquently about the sometimes enigmatic nature of sisterhood (blood isn't always thicker than water), and discusses spirituality and Catholicism in such a way that makes readers want to know more, rather than less. And that's no easy feat, especially when it comes to including religious themes in a YA book (unless, of course, the reader is specifically seeking inspirational literature--this book doesn't fall into that genre, I don't think).

It's been several years since Caroli...more
Katie Tuccelli
BlookGirl's Summary: The Opposite of Hallelujah is a thought-provoking contemporary novel for young adults that addresses real issues, such as grief, forgiveness, faith, and self-discovery. Using familiar and comfortable subjects, such as art and science, The Opposite of Hallelujah is accessible to a wide audience, no matter their religious persuasion. I would highly recommend this novel to any teen, and believe that it will give them a great starting point to thinking critically about life and...more
Ira Singh
450 pages ... *gulp* .. Not that it's a big deal, I'll be done with this in less than one and a half day, but still .. I've been avoiding this book, telling myself, one more quick light hearted read over and over again.. because I get this vibe from the book that it's gonna be sad if not down right depressing. I mean, even the cover makes my mind slump it's shoulders in part grief feeling the sadness this book will give me and part resignition since it knows I will really read this now ..

_______...more
Angela (:
2.25 stars.

I didn't like this book as much as I thought I would. Some chapters were so incredibly boring, but this book was okay. I didn't feel like there was anything interesting that happened until the book was almost over. This book could have been shortened. A lot. I couldn't connect to the characters, and felt they lacked in development.

I honestly don't know if I would recommend this book. Probably not.
Erica Alyson
This was one of those books where I didn't realize I was that into it until I had to put it down. Once I had to stop reading I couldn't wait to pick it back up.

I never read a book (other than in Church) this centered in religion. I read another book by this author and loved it so tried this one too and wasn't disappointed.
Anna Johnson
Anna Jarzab, author of All Unquiet Things, writes a passionate mystery in her novel The Opposite of Hallelujah. In this novel Caro, the sixteen year old main character, has lived most of her life as an only child. Her only sister is eleven years older than her and has been absent most of Caro's life. When Caro was still in elementary school her sister, Hannah, left home and moved into a convent to become a nun. Caro never understood why, but as the years past she thought less and less of her sis...more
Hannah
I love when a book just completely takes me by surprise! I wasn't expecting much from The Opposite of Hallelujah, but I ended up loving it. It's the kind of book that sneaks up on you - there wasn't one special moment where I found myself going 'wow', and only after finishing it did I notice how amazing the book had been. The Opposite of Hallelujah is subtle in all the right ways.

Caro is such a fun MC! I didn't like her or agree with her a lot of the time, but I didn't mind, because it was just...more
Danna
I randomly selected The Opposite of Hallelujah from the Young Adult shelf at the library, and I am so grateful I did. Caro Mitchell is a 16-year-old high school student living in a typical self-centered bubble: she spends hours with her friends each day, comes home to talk on the phone, and then sneaks out to spend more time with them. She is also an exceptional student who studies hard and excels in her honors courses. Caro has just one secret, which is devastating to her: her sister Hannah is...more
Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
At the heart of The Opposite of Hallelujah, I think the message is that your actions don't just effect yourself. A lie, a decision to leave, hiding from your problems, and pain can't be isolated to just you, it creates a wave to the people you love and that love you.
Caro is a very relatable narrator. I could relate with her anger, pain and doubt about what was going on in the world around her as well as her curiosity whether related to learning or uncovering the past of her prodigal sister. S...more
Leah
Caro hasn't seen her sister for years, and for a while told people that she was dead, since it was easier to explain than the truth: that Hannah was in a nunnery. But when Hannah returns after 8 years in the nunnery, Caro discovers that the truth is never all that easy to explain, or even to understand.

This books starts like a fairly typical teenage coming-of-age story, distinguished by the extremely strong and well-done voice and by the hint of mysteries buried in the past. But while it goes th...more
Annette
I just don't know about The Opposite of Hallelujah. Good writing, decent characters, interesting premise. But, it was so looooooong, and really nothing happens until the last 1/4 of the book.

Caro's sister, who has been in a convent for over 10 years (and left when Caro was 8 years old) is leaving the convent and coming back home to live. Caro doesn't know her sister, Hannah, who is now 27, and doesn't feel any great attachment to her.

When Hannah comes home, there is obviously something wrong. Sh...more
Tara
Review originally posted on my blog http://hobbitsies.net/2012/11/the-opp...

I really enjoyed reading The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab. I haven’t read All Unquiet Things, but after reading The Opposite of Hallelujah, I’m definitely going to pick it up.

The Opposite of Hallelujah is a slow moving, but emotional and enjoyable contemporary. I wouldn’t recommend it to people who need constant action because it is definitely on the slower side, but that really worked me. I enjoyed getting to k...more
Michael Jones
The “voice” of Caro was beautifully done! The author had an amazing ability to use Caro’s POV to:
1. express what she is really feeling
2. give huge insights into many family dynamics
3. give huge insights into many school and relationship dynamics.

Bravo!

This book shows a way out for families who are struggling through something dark (in this case really dark) in the past. It was beautiful in that Caro needed all the support of her family, friends, teachers and (which was very nice for me to see)...more
Arlena
Author: Anna Jarzab
Published by: Delacorte Books For Young Readers
Age Recommend: 12 YA
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Raven Rating: 5
Blog Review For: GMTA


Review:


"The Opposite of Hallelujah" by Anna Jarzab was truly one wonderful enjoyable read. The author Anna Jarzab was able to let us see how faith, forgiveness and above all sisterhood in the wonderful read of "The Opposite Of Hallelujah" could really be a exciting book for any YA. Yes, it deals with spirituality and Catholicism but in a very inspiring...more
Wandering Librarians
When Caro was eight, her 19 year-old sister joined a convent, and Caro has hardly seen her since. But now, eight years later, Hannah is returning home. No one knows what happened or why Hannah left the convent. Now it feels like a stranger is living in Caro's house. Something happened to Hannah, something that Caro has no memory of, that is still haunting Hannah today, and won't let her move on.

I didn't like this when I first started reading it, but then I ended up liking it a lot. I wasn't enjo...more
Melodie
This was another Netgalley ARC which I chose for the slight mystery element mentioned in the blurb. I loved the way the author wove discussion of religion and belief through her narrative - it never came across as preachy or overbearing. I wish more YA would address these deeper questions, because teens are SO searching for meaning/answers at this stage of life.

Anyway, the main conflict in the story is between Caro and her recently returned sister, Hannah, who has renounced the convent and is a...more
Kathy Martin
This is a big book filled with big ideas. What does it mean to be sisters? How do you deal with grief? What about jealousy? What do you think about faith and God? How do you handle change?

Caro is just about to start her junior year in high school when the sister who left to join a convent when Caro was eight comes home. Hannah comes home sick and depressed and without a plan for her life. Caro doesn't know how to cope. When she was younger she got the name Caroliar for telling her school friends...more
Lexie
I'm sorry, but I was kind of disappointed with this. I was so looking forward to it, but it fell flat. Caro wasn't likable enough, Hannah's issues seemed both convoluted and spread too thin, and many of the characters reacted how the author needed them to react rather than a more realistic reaction.

Caro didn't need two best friends because of the slim role they both played. A lot of little bits and pieces included were wasted, as they were never mentioned again. The science project came out of...more
Shannel
This book is geared toward young adults, but I loved it: Strong and well-developed plot, interesting characters, not predictable, very true to life & dare I say that I learned a few things that I never knew about.

Enjoyed that the writing was so well done that I became completely immersed in the Caro's (the main character's) emotions.

It's one of those books that I could relate to indirectly, so many of the lines spoke to me & things I'm going through in my late 20's & as a new paren...more
University of Chicago Magazine
Anna Jarzab, AM'07
Author

From our pages (Mar–Apr/13): Anna Jarzab's young adult novel follows the story of high school student Caro Mitchell, whose older sister has returned home to Chicagoland unexpectedly after eight years at the Sisters of Grace convent in Indiana. Accustomed to life as a de facto only child, Caro is confused by Hannah's sudden reappearance and stubborn secrecy. But as she learns more about Hannah's past, the sisters' relationship is transformed.
Joe Pfeiffer
I couldn't put this book down and finished it in 2 days! Caro, the main character, was a little insufferable at first since it bugged me how she treated her sister so badly but you get glimpses of her trying to be a better person. Her evolution throughout the book was amazing to watch and is what kept me hooked.

Also, I loved the relationship between Caro and the Priest. It was so reassuring every time they spoke together and reminded me of important people that guided me while growing up.

Definit...more
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Anna Jarzab is the author of All Unquiet Things, The Opposite of Hallelujah, and the upcoming Tandem, the first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy. She lives in New York City and works in children's book publishing. Visit her online at www.annajarzab.com, connect with her on Twitter @ajarzab and on Facebook at facebook.com/annajarzabbooks.
More about Anna Jarzab...
All Unquiet Things Tandem (Many-Worlds, #1) Tether (Many-Worlds, #2) Untitled (Many-Worlds, #3)

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“Best quote page 239: "The past doesn't disappear, but it doesn't have to define your future. That's up to you.” 6 likes
“It's a bit like staring into another dimension, one that has a different set of mathematical and physical laws. For me, it also serves as reminder that that the mind of God is unknowable, that things that seem contradictory to us only appear so because we have no context for them, or aren't seeing the full picture.” 5 likes
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