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Alyzon Whitestarr

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3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,047 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
Are Alyzon’s new abilities a blessing . . . or a curse?
Alyzon Whitestarr doesn't take after her musically talented father or her nocturnal, artistic mother. In fact, she’s the most normal member of a very eccentric family . . . until the day that an accident leaves her more unique than she ever could have dreamed. Suddenly colors are more vibrant to Alyzon; her memory is f
...more
Paperback, 584 pages
Published September 26th 2005 by Penguin Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,955)
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Hayden
I never would have finished this if I hadn't picked it up a teen librarian meeting and signed up to review it.

Alyzon Whitestarr (terrible title, by the way--I should have known) takes a knock on the head protecting her baby brother from injury. Afterwards, she finds that she has extended senses; she can hear and see far more than she could before, but most of all she can smell people. Not their b.o., but their essential smell. Turns out, the totally cute guy that she used to have the hots for ac
...more
Mari
Dec 26, 2010 Mari rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nardia
Sep 21, 2009 Nardia rated it it was amazing
This story was captivating for me, and as well as being exciting and fun to read, I thought it had really important underlying questions about the way people interact and how they're motivated, and lamenting a sort of sickness that seems to permeate society. I just love the way that those messages are woven through a story about a girl with extended--almost psychic--senses. Those sorts of stories are usually very introverted and self-centred, so this is the most wonderful portrayal I've seen of ...more
Mariel
Jan 14, 2011 Mariel rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who spell their names with a Z
Recommended to Mariel by: Shannon (Giraffe Days)

This dog doesn't just rely on his sense of smell. He can hear what a total butt people are without bending down to sniff 'em.

Isobelle Carmody's Alyzon Whitestarr was sometimes good, it could have been great if only it had been more balanced where it placed blame, less hysterical in its wrongs and all the rights that I'd never place Scott Baio in charge of (now, if I had teenaged daughters...). Hell, if it at least stuck to its own blood flow (okay, I admit I was thinking it didn't fit with how I
...more
Tamara
Jul 29, 2011 Tamara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who wish to burn books and take a long, long nap.
Alyzon Whitestarr. Where do I start? I guess I should go ahead and deliver the bad news first in a to-the-point list.
Cons:
1) The characters were monotonous; they ended up all having the same amount of view points and being the same person (i.e., not much character diversity.
2)This book was from the view point of a teenager, yet it sounds like it all came from a forty year old woman with nothing better to do that conjure up a steaming pile of crap.
3)The audience it was supposed to be targeting pr
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Ruth
Aug 26, 2009 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, fantasy
Alyzon is the middle child of five, the only "normal" one in her family, she thinks. Her mother is an artist, who only works at night, and sleeps in the day. Her father is a musician; he's the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter for the (practically unknown) band "Losing the Rope", which is just starting to hit it big. All of her siblings seem to have inherited one or the other of her parents' artistic abilities - except for her. Until the day she has an accident that puts her in a coma for a month ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Breia "The Brain" Brickey for TeensReadToo.com

Alyzon isn't like the other people in her family. She wasn't born with a special gift, and she thought that she would always be the ordinary one in a family of super-talented people. When she experiences an accident that gives her powers of her own, Alyzon realizes there is more going on than what she initially figured.

Her new power enhances her senses so that colors are more vibrant, her memory is the best it's ever been, and her sense o
...more
Sara
Dec 08, 2009 Sara rated it it was ok
Shelves: written-by-women
The positive: The main conceit of the book is that Alyzon (!) gets hit on the head, spends a month in a coma, and wakes up with the ability to smell people's intentions and feelings and essences and the like. I thought that was an intriguing and stellar idea, and enjoyed pretty much the first half of the book, where she's sort of trying to figure out how these new senses work, and what the smells mean, and such.

The negative: The "action" of the book was trite and boring -- fighting an ancient ev
...more
Merrilyn Tucker
Parts of this book I absolutely loved and other parts I could pass on. What I loved: Alyzon's family, especially her father, and the way they share responsibilities and have open conversations. Having said that, I did not fully appreciate Alyzon's mother due to her artsy flakiness (although more comes to light about this at the end of the book). I also loved Carmody's characters; they were vibrant, complex, and real. On the downside, there were a tad too many of them. What I could pass on were t ...more
Hillary
Oct 21, 2014 Hillary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book starts off pretty slow in some ways, but having finished it, I can honestly say it's worth the long build up.
Alyzon Whitestarr is the "boring" one out of her large family of creatives until an accident sends her into a month-long coma and she awakens with an unusual new talent: the ability to smell people's souls. As she delves deeper into this new ability, she realizes that all of her senses have been heightened to perceive a person's soul essence. And with this new power comes the r
...more
Emily
Dec 13, 2015 Emily rated it it was amazing
I first read this book as a 16 year old on holiday with my parents.
Normally, I do not like Isobelle Carmody, as I find her too convoluted and for some reason, hard to sit down and concentrate on.
But... I loved this book.

Books like this, that are hard to put down but are so long that you find you have to put them down (at the very least to sleep) are my favourites, as you find that you need to keep reading so that you can follow the story line and the characters.

Since first reading it, I have re
...more
Rayne
Jul 04, 2012 Rayne marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: got-it
Because Cillian says so.
Stephanie
Dec 23, 2009 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
A truly captivating and compelling novel that when finished, will give readers an extreme satisfaction.

To be honest, Alyzon Whitestarr was really slow in plot. It took a long time for things to pick up and for the actual plot to happen. However, the way Isobelle wrote this novel made it okay - there wasn't any need to hurry through and instead, you felt this desire to slowly devour this book in all its goodness.

To me, it seemed as if there were two plots - the first where Alyzon first gains her
...more
Melissa
Ok so this was a tough book to review. I liked the framework of the story but I didn't like the underlying tone of it. It started out great with the main character able to smell people's essences or souls. And also smell how and what they felt. I thought that was really interesting. Especially when the heartthrob of her high school smells like death warmed over. Seems plausible that someone with a dark spirit would smell like rotten food. Unfortunately the author took it a whole different direct ...more
Alessandria
Sep 13, 2010 Alessandria rated it liked it
In Alyzon Whitestarr, Alyzon is born into a family of five, and is surrounded with talented siblings. Alyzon sees herself as the black sheep, the one person in the family that doesn't do anything exceptional. However, when Alyzon is hit by the back of a truck and wakes up from a month long coma, she realizes that she isn't the same as she was before. Alyzon's senses are now magnified, and she can tell what people are feeling, by how they smell, or the aura they give off. for example, her father ...more
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen
Jul 05, 2012 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Karen by: Cillian Beyond Birthday
Cillian Marathon Book #1

Alyzon Whitestarr...

I have to admit, it took me a while before I eventually figured out how to properly pronounce your name. All of my worry/confusion was for nothing though, as it's just pronounced as Alison with a Z. Well, Alison with a Z, I'm not sure I liked you as much as I was supposed to. First of all, you got on my nerves with how much you complained about being plain and untalented. You almost scared me for a minute there; I thought you were going to end up like
...more
Nola
Nov 26, 2013 Nola rated it it was ok
I felt this book was too long and convoluted. I didn't find the characters likeable and I thought they tended not to speak or act as people their age do.

I found the circumstances of the characters Raoul to be especially unbeleievable - he's been in a car crash and was in a wheel chair, doesn't seem to have any family and lives in a converted church, is a computer genius (with computer genius friends) and is mega rich, so mega rich that he can conveniently pay for the medical treatment of a frie
...more
J. Lynne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stacey
Sep 09, 2010 Stacey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alyzon Whitestarr doesn't take after her musically talented father or her nocturnal, artistic mother. In fact, she’s the most normal member of a very eccentric family . . . until the day that an accident leaves her more unique than she ever could have dreamed.

Suddenly colors are more vibrant to Alyzon; her memory is flawless; but strangest of all is Alyzon’s sense of smell. Her best friend smells of a comforting sea breeze. She registers her father’s contentment as the sweet scent of caramelize
...more
Alice
Dec 26, 2007 Alice rated it it was amazing
Alyzon Whitestarr is a rather shy girl from a large, loving and extraordinary family. Her father is a (struggling, but brilliant) musician, her mother an eccentric artist and easch of her brothers and sisters have their own special talents.

After an accident leading to a week in a coma, she wakes up to find her senses enhanced, especially her sense of smell. At first being frightened, she grows to revel in her new abilities until she discovers a frightening disease afflicting humanity that only
...more
T M
May 13, 2008 T M rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone into fantasy, people interested in good & evil, young adults
Recommended to T by: morbane
In some ways Alyzon Whitestarr is almost a follow-up to Isobelle Carmody's The Gathering.

Alyzon Whitestarr, seemingly the ordinary, odd one out in her talented, disorganised loving family has an accident and suddenly is able to smell the essence and emotions of the people around her- and with physical contact, to even glimpse their emotional flashbacks. At first this ability overwhelms her. As she begins to adjust to her new life and abilities, however, she becomes aware of a curious disease
...more
Adalira Morningstar
This is another one of those "saw a brief description in the library's catalog and thought it sounded interesting" reads and this time, my whims actually found me a book I enjoyed.

Alyzon is the most unimpressive member of her quirky and exceptionally talented family. All that changes when one day she suffers a blow to the head and awakens from a month long coma with dramatically increased senses. The taste of food moves her to tears, she can talk to her cat through scents, she can smell people'
...more
Eva Mitnick
Jul 05, 2009 Eva Mitnick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
This fantasy has an excellent premise. What if all animals, including people, emitted all sorts of information, from emotions to basic messages to the nature of their very essences, that humans can no longer sense? Perhaps early in our evolutionary past, these messages were an essential means of communication, but as we developed complex language and society, we gradually lost the ability to “smell” each other.

After bumping her head, teenaged Alyzon falls into a month-long coma. When she comes o
...more
 Soph - Lock&Key
Ok so what can I say about this book? Well I must say it started out extremely wel, for the first 130 pages the story was really captivating but as soon as Harrison and his friend were introduced everything went downhill. Maybe it was just my borrowed copy of this book but well.....................This book had a lot of grammar problems. The writing was all over the place the author kept getting the names mixt up it would say. “Harlan” instead of “Harrison” and I would get really confused think ...more
Kristine
I read this book after my teenage daughter told me how much she enjoyed it.

I enjoyed it as well. The story was primarily a paranormal suspense, but it just as easily could have been referring to life in general - sensitive, intuitive souls picking up on the negativity that is around them and either deciding not to let it in and be affected by it, or allowing it to consume them entirely.

I found at times that it straddled the fence between psychic/intuitiveness and a fantastical quality ('sickness
...more
Jess
Apr 05, 2009 Jess rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Had I read this book when I was younger, or perhaps before Caramody's other great books such as the Obernewtyn Chronicles and the Legendsong trilogy (which I highly recommend), I may have liked this book. Unfortunately, I didn't. I was quite disappointed with Alyzon Whitestarr. There was rich detail and emphasis on all the scents that Alyzon picked up, which in effect described all the other characters in the story thoroughly. However, I did not feel particularly drawn to any of them, nor was ab ...more
Michelle
Aug 11, 2015 Michelle rated it did not like it
Shelves:
I'm ready to start chapter 9 and I just can't fake interest anymore. I thought the premise of this book would be quite interesting. But I'm 8 chapters in and I feel like all I have learned so far could be contained in 1 chapter. I can't keep going - I'm done.
Melliott
Mar 08, 2010 Melliott rated it really liked it
Alyzon gets hit (hard) on the head and when she wakes up, she can smell people's essence. Not whether or not they have bathed that day or had garlic for lunch--their smell tells her what they are like on the inside. So she discovers that the gorgeous guy she has had a crush on for two years of high school actually smells like rotting meat (not a good indicator that he's a nice guy), while her beloved dad smells like new-mown grass and a classmate that she somehow never befriended in the past sme ...more
Jennafer
Mar 26, 2015 Jennafer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This book was ok, not really amazing. I bought this as a quick impulse buy in passing and I don't know what I thought was so interesting from the synopsis. For a girl to get a newly acquired super ability to smell the decaying of someone's soul I didn't think I would envision a girl sniffing people like a dog meeting another for the first time, I'm sure that's not how she went about it but that's how I saw it. However, a girl feeling lost in a family of extraordinary personalities only find her ...more
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Isobelle Carmody began the first novel of her highly acclaimed Obernewtyn Chronicles while she was still in high school. The series has established her at the forefront of fantasy writing in Australia.

In addition to her young-adult novels, such as the Obernewtyn Chronicles and Alyzon Whitestarr, Isobelle's published works include several middle-grade fantasies. Her still-unfinished Gateway Trilogy
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More about Isobelle Carmody...

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“The deepest wounds aren't the ones we get from other people hurting us. They are the wounds we give ourselves when we hurt other people.” 247 likes
“There are so many sad and ugly things in the world that I feel I must try to counterbalance them with whatever beauty I can produce. Setting a pretty table in a world of pain might seem callous, given that people are starving and living in dreadful disease and poverty. But in trying to create islands of beauty and peace, I feel I am honoring the dreams of the world.” 0 likes
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