Melissa (YA Book Shelf)'s Reviews > The Year of the Beasts

The Year of the Beasts by Cecil Castellucci
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's review
Apr 25, 12

bookshelves: canadian-ya
Read from April 24 to 25, 2012 — I own a copy

As with Cecil Castellucci's 2011 release, First Day On Earth, The Year Of The Beasts blends contemporary YA with a fantastical reality and results in an ambiguous ending. This time around, however, the contemporary version of the story is told in prose, while the mythical realm is written as graphic novel featuring Nate Powell's illustrations. Some readers will opt to give the contemporary novel more weight, while others will look to the graphic novel for their understanding of what happens. Both will be right. Both will be able to draw some conclusions about what happened or is happening to the main characters depicted.

Personally, however, I loved how the complete distinction that I saw between each section seems to narrow as the novel goes on, ultimately, meaning that both the written and visual aspects of the novel help inform the content of both Tessa and Medusa's stories. Typically, Castellucci writes in a sparse writing style that tends to evoke a feeling (or many feelings rather) in the reader. Her writing in The Year of the Beasts qualifies as such, but as I was reading the first narrative section, I found myself reveling in the richness of the carnival atmosphere, the feeling of nostalgia it evokes, and the writing style Castellucci uses to slow the pace down (for example, many of the lists of three or more items include multiple conjunctions rather than the standard writing style). Over the course of The Year of the Beasts, Castellucci takes us an emotional ride from excitement, hope, jealousy, anger, rage, fear, desperation, and everything in between. Make sure you pick it up on May 22, 2012!

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