Sunday, 11 November 2018

Tea and treats on a wintry morning...

It’s a chilly, wintry morning.  We even have a bit of snow on the ground, which is actually quite pretty, and with the sun struggling to make an appearance, I think it will be a nice afternoon to go for a long walk.  But for now, I have a steaming cup of chai tea and a delicious Date Bar for a treat as I think about the novel I finished reading last night.
I took a chance and read a Young Adult novel this past week, a new title that was being promoted on my public library website.  Set in small-town Vermont, Broken Things by Lauren Oliver follows Mia and Brynn, two young women who, when they were 13 years old, were accused of murdering their beautiful, willful friend Summer.  Never convicted but shunned by the townspeople and branded “The Monsters of Brickhouse Lane”, Mia has struggled to stay in school and form new friendships, Brynn has been in and out of rehab, and their friend Owen, also implicated in the murder, has been away in Scotland.  Five years later, these three, along with Mia’s new friend Abby and Brynn’s cousin Wade, reunite to try to solve the murder and clear their names. Once upon a time, Brynn, Mia and Summer were obsessed with an old fantasy novel, The Way into Lovelorn by Georgia C Wells, a novel that ended in mid-sentence.  These girls were determined to write a sequel, but their complicated friendship ran the gamut of emotions, from love to hate, pride to envy, happiness to jealousy, and everything in between, driving a wedge between them and making this project a source of rivalry.  When Summer persuaded the others to take their obsession to the next level, Brynn and Mia reluctantly agreed, but this decision led to the tragic death of Summer and devastating consequences for the others. Now, in their race to uncover the truth, Mia and Brynn discover much about themselves and their past, but will the truth be enough to save them and offer a chance for new beginnings?  Told in alternating chapters from Brynn’s and Mia’s points of view, and switching from their 13-year-old selves to the present, this book seemed like exactly the kind of book I would love. This was an ambitious work that had all the elements of my favourite type of novel, an unsolved murder, secrets from the past, as well as a deeply concealed but still-burning love. It even had excerpts from The Way into Lovelorn and the girls’ fanfic effort, Return to Lovelorn. But somehow it fell just short of being amazing.  I can’t put my finger on what the problem was… perhaps it was too long, or maybe it switched back and forth in time or between characters too much, I’m not really sure. There were whole sections when I was totally engrossed in the story and absolutely loved it, then there were times when I wanted to skim and get on with it, but all in all, I thought the plot and characterizations were well done and it was very well-written, the excerpts deftly woven into the text to offer clues about the mystery and hint at the plot twists.  I would recommend this novel for anyone aged 14+.
That’s all for today.  Get outside and enjoy the fact that it’s not raining!
Bye for now…
Julie

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