Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sharp Time” as Want to Read:
The Sharp Time
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sharp Time

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  585 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Sandinista Jones is a high school senior with a punk rock name and a broken heart. The death of her single mother has left Sandinista alone in the world, subject to the random vulnerability of everyday life. When the school system lets her down, her grief and instability intensify, and she ponders a violent act of revenge.

Still, in the midst of her crisis, she gets a job a
Hardcover, 228 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sharp Time, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Sharp Time

Schasm by Shari J. RyanEssence by A.L. WaddingtonClockwork Princess by Cassandra ClareThe Last of the Firedrakes by Farah OomerbhoyBoundless by Cynthia Hand
YA/Teen Covergasm
162 books — 179 voters
Shatter Me by Tahereh MafiCrossed by Ally CondieLegend by Marie LuThe Pledge by Kimberly DertingDarker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
November 2011
56 books — 60 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  585 ratings  ·  92 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Sharp Time
{This review was originally published on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves.}

And look at me: My mother gave me a punk-rock name, but my spirit is composed of elevator music: Tra-la-la-la./Don’t mind me./I’m a nice girl./I have good manners./I’ll not bother you./Tra-la-LA!

Mary O'Connell's The Sharp Time is a unique, quiet novel that sneaked up on me.

I credit Trish Doller with my discovery of The Sharp Time, as she posted about it on her (fabulous, must-follow) Tumblr, and since I adored Trish's book (my
Bailey (IB Book Blogging)
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
THE SHARP TIME is a brilliantly crafted YA novel that had my emotions going. I became so invested in Sandinista's complicated and heart-breaking story that I could think of nothing else while I was reading. It is so blatantly honest and real that you can't help but get sucked in. This is the first novel I have read from O'Connell and it certainly won't be the last.

Sandinista is one of those characters who will stick with you forever. Her mother, the one person she had a connection with, died in
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Sandinista Jones is struggling through the loss of her mother and with the fact she can no longer handle the way her math teacher treats a fellow student who has been mainstreamed. It's straight on bullying. When Sandinista ditches school, she knows she's got to take on a job to fill her time. She takes it at Pale Circus, a vintage store in town.

Coworker Bradley quickly takes a liking to Sandinista, and the two of them spend a week together sharing their secrets with one another (fully and not-s
Oct 26, 2011 rated it liked it
I was not sure what to expect with this book. The premise sounded promising and the cover is a pretty rainbow of colors... but there was nothing that really stuck out for me and screamed "you have to read this book!" And I will be honest, it took a little work to get into this story. Mary O'Connell writes with flowery descriptions and a short attention span. Sandinista is brilliant as a narrator, but the reader has to work hard to keep up with her thoughts. There is no exposition and explanation ...more
Aug 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Review posted 10/25/2011 at Owl Tell You About It.

Sandinista Jones has to be one of the coolest teen narrators I’ve come across. Sure, she’s lost and bitter, but she’s also witty and real. She and her co-worker Bradley were the saving graces of an otherwise confusing book. I think the plot itself works, but the way Sandinista’s brain works sometimes lost me. Her thoughts were so clouded by anger and depression that I was left wondering what the hell was going on. I’m guessing this was a little b
Jenn Estepp
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
3.5, probably. Today I will round up, because I have an admitted weakness for the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Fair warning if you don't though - or even if you're one of those people who roll their eyes at the mention of it. (And if you've no idea what I'm talking about, just ignore this portion of the program.) It's very much a product of an author who has spent time there. Without question, it's the most literary young adult novels I've ever read. And I mean that with all due respect to the YA des ...more
Anastasia (At Bookish)
Jun 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
I finished. Oh thank god I'm finished.

This book took forever to read. It's short enough that I would normally have finished it in a few hours, but it took me a week to finish instead.

And the thing is, I'm not sure why. It wasn't an awful book. It just... wasn't very interesting. I felt like there wasn't anything going on in the book. Sandinista was caught up on the same thing throughout the entire book, and it got annoying. So, don't waste your time on this book. Find a better realistic fictio
OMGosh. This book has left me pretty much speechless. Like, I don't even know where to begin with how beautifully haunting this book was...

For me, the thing that stood out about The Sharp Time from almost every other YA book I've read was that the writing was so incredibly intelligent and just-- beautiful. Like I'm talking, jaw-droppingly, can't even believe it, beautiful. The whole time I was reading, I was totally mesmerized and just wanted to savor every word. It was like reading poetry in pr
Amber Wortz
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Amber Wortz
Contemporary Realistic Fiction

"The Sharp Time" by Mary O'Connell is a work of fiction about a high school senior who has just lost her mother and is thrown into the world of real-life and taking care of herself. When her math teacher humiliates her in front of her entire class, she is forced to think about who really cares about her and who she really cares about. Through the help of a new friend and a special possession, she begins to find the person she knows she needs to be.
I was h
Jess Moore
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooks
The first few pages, I wasn't sure I would like this book. The descriptives felt a little overdone and I imagined the author with a thesaurus pulling out too many words. The sentences ran on and on. Then it clicked. I was inside Sandinista's head. It was so different than the way my own thoughts go, that I loved being pulled in by her. I really ended up enjoying the way she described the things around her, all relating back to the incidents in her life. The long trailing thoughts were indicative ...more
Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
when i first started reading this book, i was so mesmerized by the style of writing. the words were so lush, grandiose, and i couldn't put the book down. halfway through it though, the ADD aspect began to annoy me. i am sick of the words, " Have you paid attention ?" and "Sandinista, you're a real cool person, you're a real cool person everyday." granted, the character had ADD, and she seemed to not be able to not focus on either Catherine Bennett,Alecia Hardway,the pink gun, and her thoughts on ...more
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Oh my, I loved this book. I am well beyond my teenage years, and I found The Sharp Time to be so much more sophisticated than most "grown-up" books. That's Mary O'Connell's genius--she's so funny and accessible and reading her (also loved "Living With Saints") is such a delight that you forget how freaking smart she is. Sandinista is that smart, soulful girl you always wanted to know (or wish you were) in high school and the way she navigates the ragingly unfair circumstances of her life is ... ...more
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm thinking of adding a new tag, "atmospheric", for this book. I could see and feel and even smell O'Connell's fictional Kansas City. Sandanista Jones and Bradley have stayed with me for several days now after finishing the book. Even the supporting characters were real, not just sketched in. I like Mary O'Connell's writing a lot, and since she lives in my favorite town, maybe I'll get to tell her so in person some day. ...more
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book was well written. The author certainly has a way with words and phrases, and I liked Sandinista as a character. So, why only two stars? Sadinista's voice, totally inauthentic to me. I have spent the last 9 years as a librarian at two different public schools and served as the Young Adult librarian at a public library, and I have never, ever met an eighteen year old who thinks and talks like Sandinista. I was still able to enjoy the book, but not as much as I would have liked. ...more
Trish Doller
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Really liked this one! Characters were well-defined, tension was great, loved (!) the gritty realism of the setting SO much. I think there are cultural references that might be lost on some younger readers, but not so much that it diminishes the overall effect of Sandinista's story. Definitely a keeper for me. ...more
Cathy Blackler
Apr 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I will post a more thorough review a little later. But for now, Mary O'Connell has crafted a haunting tale of loss, grief, acceptance, and the strength it takes to work through it all when it seems that no one is paying attention. ...more
Jul 06, 2011 rated it liked it
This review was for my blog event Psychtember, so it's formatted a little differently than usual, to reflect the mental health theme. I've structured things as though the book is the patient and I'm giving them an assessment. Each axis is an aspect of the book that I'll give my thoughts on (characters, plot, etc.), and the validity score refers to how psychologically accurate I think the book is, with the final diagnosis being my shooting star rating. The rating still reflects my overall view of ...more
Sep 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bullshit
The writing in this is shit. I kept wanting the author to get to the fucking point.👎🏽

"He flailed his hands around, popping up dust motes over his head. The wild dust is lit by the sun shining between the pulled shade and the window. Before he says anything else, the dust shimmies and re-forms into the same glittering Gray plank." Pg. 93

😾 Why the fuck should we give two shit about dust!!
Get to the point!!!
Did not finish!!
Do not care......
Sandinista Jones is a high school senior with a punk rock name and a broken heart. The death of her mother has left Sandinista alone in the world, isolated and vulnerable. When the school system lets her down, her grief and instability intensify, and she ponders a violent act of revenge against her teacher.

Still, in the midst of her crisis, she gets a job at the Pale Circus, a funky vintage clothing shop, and finds a kindred spirit in her coworker, Bradley, a boy struggling with his own secrets.
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Posted on Book Chelle.

3.5 but rounded up.

The Sharp Time by Mary O’Connel is a week filled of strong emotions. Eighteen year-old Sandinista Jones is filled with pain and grief. She lives alone in Kansas City. She lost her mother not too long ago, and there is nothing in her life that gives her hope or self-worth.

After an altercation at school, Sandinista questions and analyzes her life. Piece by piece, she relives through her past, attempts to cope, and definitely, longs for her mother. She is bi
Finished: 9/18/12
Review to come :)

Sandinista is a defiant, searching, sarcastic, dark, and open-minded spirit. She’s a spec that’s seizes to exist, yet her irrelevance makes her the most important aspect of “The Sharp Time.”

“The Sharp Time,” begins with Sandinista’s job “interview” for her favorite vintage clothing store, if you can even call it that. She’s shooed away from the store, and asked to write about why she deserves the job. Any other person I know, might’ve come back the next
The Sharp Time is about Sandinista Jones, an 18-year-old girl who has recently lost her mother to a random accident. The Sharp Time covers a tumultuous and eventful week in Sandinista's life, when Monday, after an encounter with her algebra teacher Catherine Bennet, she decides to drop out of school. Instead of going home to sulk, Sandinista applies for a job at the Pale Circus, a whimsical and colorful vintage clothing store on 38th Street.

This book is made entertaining by the cast of characte
Jan 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the authors first book which came out in 2011.

This was a great book! It happens over the course of a week and there is so much in this story.

The MC, Sandanista, named after the Clash album, has recently lost her mother and so is now living on her own (she is 18-a senior in HS). The book tells us about a day at school when her alegbra teacher attacks her verbally and phsically, by kicking the desk Sandinista is sitting in. Thus begins our story.

Sandinista walks out of class and out of sc
One thing pops in my head now when I see this book cover:
"Sandinista, are you paying attention?"
I really really liked Sandinista. Mary O'Connell has made a character that I would love to have a whole series of books featuring her. Like.. Sandinista goes off to college...Sandinista goes to France..Sandinista's Engaged!
I'm not sure I can even explain Sandinista. She just doesn't have a boring plain thought. hmm.. here's a couple quotes from her that caught my eye.
"Because surely a teacher canno
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've been staring at the screen trying to figure out how to explain this book for way too long already. I still don't know what to make of it. The Sharp Time is strange, and it kept going back and forth between being too weird for me and being amazing in a very unique way. But ultimately, while there are things I didn't understand, I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty of the weirdness of it all.

The writing is what carries the novel. Even when I was confused and didn't know what was going on,
Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, own
This review is also posted on my blog, In The Good Books.

The death of her beloved mother and the constant failures and shortcomings of the world around her leaves Sandinista caught between constant defeatism and rage. On the weird and wonderful Thirty-Eighth street, plans for violent revenge take root and a redemptive friendship is formed.

Sandinista had one of the most capturing and passionate voices I've ever read. Everything she was feeling was laid out bare -- her pleas, her grief, the memory
Rachel Smalter Hall
In the past year I’ve read books that are smart, strange, sad, funny. Yet Mary O’Connell’s teen novel The Sharp Time takes the cake for "loveliest."

First, there’s the heroine’s name: Sandinista Jones. Next, you’ve got the frothy sweet vintage couture she wears to her job at The Pale Circus. And did I mention her teenage crush on the boy with a tiny crucifix tattooed to the pad of his thumb?

Much has been made of the fact that O’Connell is a graduate of the same Iowa Writer’s Workshop that produce
Dec 09, 2011 rated it liked it


Interesting and unpredictable, just the way I like them.


I really liked 38th street and the unique stores--especially an erotic chocolatier? Who knew those existed? The Pale Circus also seemed really interesting. And while it's a very brief passage, the introduction of the Catholic church was neat.


Sandinista is as quirky as her name in personality. I don't think I have ever seen a character who had ADD in a book before and it was definitely realistic (my husband has ADHD/A
Lisa McKenzie
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
After being injured in an attack by a hysterical algebra teacher, Sandinista Jones realizes, "I am not some child trapped in a subpar day care, I am an eighteen year old adult with my own goddamn getaway car," and slips away from her classroom "as if for a dental appointment." She promptly applies for a job at the Pale Circus, her favorite vintage clothing store. There is nothing, and no one, to stop her. And there's the rub. Her mother, her sole adult guardian, has died in a freak accident, lea ...more
Amy Lignor
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
“The Pale Circus” is the Nirvana that all clothing connoisseurs are dying to see. From taffeta ball gowns to pastels that most people would’ve killed for back in the 1980’s to cabinets filled with 1940’s gold compacts and other vintage treasures left behind, this store has it all. Sandinista Jones walks through the doors of this Technicolor palace one day and lands a job after a very ‘odd’ interview with the humorous and unforgettable owner.

Yes, she should be in school, but the school has let he
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Sawkill Girls
  • Honey Girl
  • One by One
  • MirrorMask
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1)
  • I'll Be Home For Christmas (I Wish You All the Best #1.5)
  • I Wish You All the Best (I Wish You All the Best, #1)
  • Cobble Hill
  • Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World
  • Dearly: New Poems
  • Metropolitan Stories
  • Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven (Harley Merlin, #1)
  • American Follies
  • Hidden Depths (Vera Stanhope, #3)
  • The House Next Door
  • The Invited
  • Saint X
  • The Courtesan
See similar books…
Mary O'Connell is a graduate of the University of Kansas and the Iowa's Writer's Workshop. She is the author of the short story collection Living With Saints (Grove/Atlantic) and her debut novel, The Sharp Time, was published by Delacorte in November. She lives with her husband and her three children in Lawrence, Kansas.

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
7 likes · 1 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“So maybe my own life is not so drastic and dreadful...maybe I am just like all those other girls who have come before me with their oily T-zones and random terrible days and bittersweet triumphs, the world billowing out behind them.” 2 likes
More quotes…