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UPDATE: I loved this even more the second time, as I found connections and meanings that I'd glossed over during my previous reading. An amazing book.UPDATE: I loved this even more the second time, as I found connections and meanings that I'd glossed over during my previous reading. An amazing book.
City of Brick and Shadow walks a fascinating line of being a book about Mormons, complete with extensive Mormon jargon, while not being a Mormon book. At least not in the sense that it is attempting to be faith-promoting in any way, and yet it's also not critical of Mormonism, or even really examines it at all. In this book, the religion just...exists. It's so accurate to the Mormon experience, yet also accessible to those that don't know it. I honestly don't know that I've ever read or heard of anything like that.
Tim Wirkus masterfully creates the surreal Brazilian slum without spending large amounts of time describing each detail. Instead, it becomes a living thing through his narrative, and he trusts the reader to get the gist of the setting without defining each unfamiliar detail (he does the same thing with the Mormon lingo). He also encourages the reader to appreciate the journey of the book more than the solution. This is a mystery that is extremely invested in the questions it raises instead of the solution, a pretty unusual point of view for the genre. It creates a hazy fluctuation between what is real and what is imagined, and I was left at the end feeling both uncertain and deeply satisfied.
I almost never want to reread books, but I've been itching to get back to this. It has a "can't put it down" quality while still having enough depth to keep me thinking about it weeks after I finished. I don't think I've read anything in the past year that I've pushed more on my friends. Someone, please read it so we can talk about it!...more
UPDATE: Even though I read this in print just this year, I adored the listening experience...maybe even more than reading it. The narration is phenomeUPDATE: Even though I read this in print just this year, I adored the listening experience...maybe even more than reading it. The narration is phenomenal.
I loved every moment of reading this. It strikes the perfect balance of heartache, rage, and everyday teen angst. The characters felt so authentic that I sometimes forgot that I was reading a novel, and each person's motivations and fears are nuanced, complex, and believable. Even characters who feel one-note at first expand into something deeper (I'm thinking of Seven's mom, specifically). A book dealing with such weighty issues could easily become overwhelming, but Angie Thomas lightens everything up at just the right moment (usually with Starr's amazing family), without dismissing any of the tension she's built up throughout the rest of the plot. Simply gorgeous....more