The author of this novel is Canadian. This novel is SET in Canada. I'm not sure if you get where I'm going with this but my heart was already spillingThe author of this novel is Canadian. This novel is SET in Canada. I'm not sure if you get where I'm going with this but my heart was already spilling over with giddy anticipation when I found out those two facts, and I hadn't even read the synopsis yet.
A Possibility of Whales
promised heartwarming moments of family, friendship and large marine mammals, and it delivered on all fronts.
Natalia Rose has moved, yet again, and this time to the land of polite and excessive "sorrys," and into an Airstream home that can barely fit one, let alone Natalia and her (literally) larger than life father and actor XAN GALLAGHER. But she knows the drill, and she is more than willing to start at her new school, and scope out prospects for a new BFF. All the while, Natalia's absent mother sits in her mind like a superglued daydream. Where is this mysterious woman who birthed her and abandoned her? How does she get closer to finding out who she really is...and when she does, will she be ready for the answer?
A Possibility of Whales
was the stream-of-conscious narrative of a not-so-typical 12-year-old girl, coping as best she can in a world that many may envy, but very little know the struggles of. Karen Rivers dug deep into her own mind, or researched quite well, the seemingly thousands of crises a tween might face on a daily basis. Her writing was fluid and beautiful, and went places that I wasn't expecting but found to be both hilarious and entertaining. For example, Natalia is obsessed with foreign words, words that mean whole THOUGHTS in other languages, like the Hindi word "
", which means "
the pain you feel when you are separated from someone you love
". Natalia randomly throws out these words and their meanings thorughout the book, and I thought it was a spectaculary clever addition to the plot. And even MORE spectacular was the arrival of an LGBT character. I cannot even express how important it is, and will continue to be, to have this representation in a middle grade novel, and I want to meet Karen myself to shake her hand and thank her for giving us Harry.
At times Natalia lost me, at times I wish the storyline would stay more grounded and linear, but that would have taken away from the chaotic beauty that the author so clearly wanted to impose on her readers. I finished this novel feeling a little less confined to one place. I took Natalia's hand and I let her show me the worlds she's traveled, the emotional strain on her young heart, and the conclusion to a story, her story, that began with a whale, and ended just as big.
Read if you liked:
Better Nate than Never
by Tim Federle, or any middle grade fiction by Holly Black
Key themes: family love, friendship, loss, acceptance, coming-of-age
I think my IQ just dropped about 50 points. I need to read something to offset the absurd narrative and poor writing that this book just delivered. QUI think my IQ just dropped about 50 points. I need to read something to offset the absurd narrative and poor writing that this book just delivered. QUICK. SOMEONE SUGGEST SOMETHING....more
I drove home from work today with this book lingering on my mind. I've come to the conclusion that I don't know how to completelyAs seen on my blog:
I drove home from work today with this book lingering on my mind. I've come to the conclusion that I don't know how to completely appreciate it, nor can I completely disregard the quiet storm it created at my core. The best I can describe
The Girl Who Stayed
is this: it was a subtle psychological thriller masquerading as a cozy mystery.
The cozy elements were all there: the small town, the southern hospitality, the home cooked comfort food attached to friendly neighbours. The air of danger lingered, but was not imminent. There were no mind-numbing twists, or heart-stopping revelations, at least no bluntly stated ones. The story began and ended with Zoe Rutherford. We followed her shape-shifting storyline along a jagged mental state. Her sister's disappearance 31 years ago was the catalyst, her 8-year long abusive relationship, intermingled with flashbacks of an abusive father, played the role of the sand between the rocks
. Zoe has come back home, with the intention of fixing up her family home to be sold, or to find out what really happened to her sister? We were pulled slowly along as she attempted to figure it out.
To say this book moved at a glacial pace would be a little harsh, but it wouldn't be completely untrue. The first 3/4 of it was spent in a haze, as Zoe spends time reminiscing on her past, describing every last detail of her present (I now have an overwhelmingly thorough understanding of stair construction), and questioning her future. It was such a frustrating state of mind to be in, the most odd state of limbo. I KNEW with all of the knowing in me that something grim and grisly and all-around uncomfortable would rear it's head at the end, but the road to that reveal was just so....calm. So soul-searchy, and normal. But it wasn't the kind that when the huge BOO! was revealed, you jumped 5 feet out of your seat. It was dark, but the most dull shade.
I feel as though I should end this review by telling you that the descriptions I used to explain
The Girl Who Stayed
is not a direct reflection of how I felt about the book. Because I enjoyed it for the most part, and was surprisingly satisfied with it's vague conclusion. It's just that I experienced such odd feelings of uncertainty while reading this narrative, like I was being kept in front of the veil, unable to peek behind it to see the gruesome, horrifying truths.
With that said, I obviously enjoyed being kept partially in the dark, because Miss Crosby will definitely be getting my business again.
Recommended for Fans of: Mind of Winter Laura Kasischke, The Starter House by Sonja Condit, A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Mystery
WORDS. I don't have them. I can't possibly come up with the right words to properly write this review. But my GOD does Joshilyn JaAs seen on my blog:
WORDS. I don't have them. I can't possibly come up with the right words to properly write this review. But my GOD does Joshilyn Jackson come up with the right words to write one HELL of a novel. It's sorcery. She's a sorceress, I'm convinced. Her descriptive talent is OTHER WORLDLY.
The Opposite of Everyone
was a step back into the world that I fell in love with in
Someone Else's Love Story
; a trip back into a place that was familiar, and comforting, and HILARIOUS, and so unabashedly witty and clever.
Paula. The sassy lawyer best friend of William in my beloved
Someone Else's Love Story
. Do you remember her? Because I almost didn't, okay no, I didn't at all. So focused I was on William finding love with the one he was meant to be with all along. But the second she opened her mouth in this novel, I remembered everything, and was more than a little giddy to realize that I was now being handed HER story.
The Opposite of Everyone
began with a flashback to Paula's literal beginning:
"I was born blue.
If my mother hadn't pushed me out quick as a cat, I would have been born dead and even bluer; her cord wrapped tight around my neck. She looked at my little blue lips, and my blue toes and baby fingers, and she named me after Kali. Kali Jai."
Kali Jai: Hindu goddess of time, change, power, creation and preservation. And Joshilyn Jackson made Paula exactly so. She was also fiercely independent, ruthless, unapologetic, and unexpectedly, a big softy. This novel was an exploration of all of those traits, and a discovery of ones that Paula didn't even know she possessed. It was a refreshing take on what it means to be a part of a family, even if that family was only two people. Told in present time/flashback style, we were audience to Paula's early childhood, and more specifically, the one incident that defined much of what her heart spent trying to unravel and heal from in this novel. I eventually fell into a strange space that allowed me to feel extreme admiration for her character, and in true Joshilyn Jackson style, I was able to reach that feeling on my own-the author provided no scenes created to "lead" readers to a feel more positively toward Paula.
Each character stayed true to who they were at their core, from who they were when we are first introduced to them. If they showed growth, it was because the situations leading to that change made sense. The talent I most admire about Joshilyn Jackson is her ability to effortlessly create a sense of genuineness-like she isn't writing a book FOR her readers, instead, you feel as though her characters are already existing, have ALWAYS existed, you just happened to become a passerby as their stories are playing out.
The Opposite of Everyone wasn't as hard a hitter on the heart, and there was a slight lack of consistency near the end, but I'd do it all over again. I would choose Jackson's writing, and beautifully flawed characters, every single time.
Recommended for Fans of:
Contemporary, 'Chick-lit', Mystery, court jargon, Rainbow Rowell, Amy Hatvany, Patti Callahan Henry,
The Precious One
by Marisca de los Santos.