Genre: Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary fiction
I wasn’t prepared for what this book had in store for me. By the look of the cover, I thought it must be some intriguing fantasy. The book cover is a mighty coverup for the avalanche of emotions this book has packed inside itself.
Even though it is more of a young adult novel, the emotions and feelings are universal. The book manages to keep you hooked till the last page and also teary-eyed.
Plot: Fifteen-year-old Julie Tyler is a regular teenager with usual teen worries until a series of mishaps turns her life upside down. She has good family life with her parents, ensconced between love and warmth. Her life takes and an ugly turn to more downs than ups after an incident of poisoned food at the school function. This is followed by the discovery about a girl, Alexis whom she dislikes (more like repulsive), a gang fight, the unearthing of the skeletons in her dad’s closet, and her mom’s cancer diagnosis. As a teenager, she finds it hard to manage these surges of events one after the other. In the midst of these upheavals, Julie discovers her strengths and frailties. She discovers a voice that never surfaced and is stronger than she thought. She fights the trauma of bullying, exams, falling grades and emerges victorious. At times, her spirits are crushed, but with a family-like Julie’s any battle can be won. She turns to her parents for guidance and understanding, who are the epitome of parental love and ideal couple.
There are several narratives that join the main narrative of Julie giving it a depth that pulls the heart. Each character seems to come to life with each page and you can see the scene unravel before your eyes. Family life, school life, insecurities, fear, angst are not out of this world. They are rather normal, one that each reader would relate to.
Interwoven in Julie’s tale is one of family life, husband-wife relationship, friendship, bullying, courage, personal health, and racism. Each tale leaves an impact on Julie and her family. Some left her breathless while some left her seething in anger. Each character is well-drawn and realistic. They are well-rounded and not linear and grow as much as Julie does.
Certain episodes will suck the air out of your breath and make you gasp in pain, while there are some warm fuzzy moments that tickle your heart. Each emotion is real and relatable. Julie does what any teenager would have done or felt. The husband-wife relationship of her parents is an ideal example of how parents should be to have a strong and mature child. Julie survives each struggle because of her family (parents).
The story does end with a bit of a happy surprise. I just can’t wait for the second book to see how the story unravels further. A must-read and recommended for anyone looking for a book that deals with real human issues and does not skirt away from them or leave them open-ended. A fabulous book by the author.