Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Lonely by Ainslie Hogarth

A darkly humorous and imaginative story
After she discovers The Terrible Thing, Easter Deetz goes looking for her sister, Julia, but ends up pinned under a giant boulder with her legs crushed into tomato paste. Bored, disappointed, and thoroughly dismembered, Easter slowly bleeds to death in The Woods with only sinister squirrels to keep her company. As The Something Coming draws closer, memories of Easter's family surface like hallucinations: a mumbling father who lives alone in the basement; a terrifying grandmother who sits in her enclosed porch all day; an overly loving mother who plays dead in the bathtub on Sunday nights.
As the story of her life unspools, Easter realizes she's being stalked, making it very difficult for her to bleed to death in peace. Will The Something Coming save her? Or will it do her in entirely?
--Publisher’s summary

Rhoda’s review; I… I… I’m not sure how to describe this book. Perhaps, “odd” and “disturbing” best describes my initial reaction. It took most of the book for me to understand what, I believe, the author was trying to convey. I guess we could have probably guessed that Easter and her family have severe psychological issues by the bizarre summary (It’s what lead me to read the book in the first place)  Author, Ainslie Hogarth, gives us a fascinating glimpse into Easter’s idea of reality.  Readers of the book "To Kill a Mockingbird" may remember a quote from the character, Scout, who said, "Atticus said you never really knew a man until you stood in his shoes and walked around in them." “The Lonely” left me, if accurately portrayed, with a better understanding of the world Easter lives in. I can’t say I found the book humorous or entertaining but I did find it intriguing.

Full Disclosure; ebook received through

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

        For all the teen contemporary realistic fiction fans out there... this is a fascinating book! 

Lauren is given an assignment at the beginning of the school year to write a letter to someone who has passed away. Of course the events that recently occurred in her life, the sudden death of her older sister, make this task all the more poignant. Lauren writes the assignment but doesn’t turn it in. Instead she continues on a yearlong journey of writing as a way of dealing with the traumatic events in her life.  She writes to a number of famous people who died before their time such as Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin and Amelia Earhart. 

This is a wonderfully written, yet horribly tragic story about loss… Author, Ava Dellaira has either experienced the loss of a sibling or done excellent research. Young survivors often feel profound loss when an older sibling is suddenly not there to provide a path; feeling abandoned by the grieving parents, they often flounder to find a sense of purpose in life. In addition, “Love Letters to the Dead” includes the divorce of Lauren and May’s parents. This seems to be the catalyst for May’s destructive behavior. The girls are left feeling frustrated, guilty and abandoned; could they have kept the parents together? Were they the reason their parent’s broke up? Lauren idolizes her sister but May, with no one to go to, turns to alcohol and men to escape the desperately need to feel loved. Now Lauren is repeating the actions of May as her life begins to spiral out of control. Lauren holds the secret to what really happened to May the night she died which is slowly revealed at the end of the story.

The book was wonderfully written and will be an excellent addition to a young adult library collection. The journal format will appeal to teens as will the interesting biographical information about the famous musicians and actors within the letters Lauren writes. My only negative is that the plot felt like a checklist of every traumatizing event that can occur in a teen’s life. There was so much added, in fact, that I felt it took away from the realism of the story. That being said, the sequence of events may be like watching a car accident; we don’t want to look but are shocked into doing it. If you’ve loved, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky, you’ll love "Love Letters to the Dead"!