Friday, November 21, 2014

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer


Belzhar
by Meg Wolitzer
Dutton Juvenile, 2014
272 pages
source: borrowed from the library

Goodreads summary:
If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be  at home in New Jersey with her sweet British  boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching  old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing  him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.


I need to tell you three things:

I don't read much Young Adult literature.
I'm not into fantasy.
I don't get magical realism.

BUT, 

I still loved Belzhar... and think you might, too.

Favorite Quotes:
“We're talking about the novel, right? But maybe we're not. We're talking about ourselves. And I guess that's what can start to happen when you talk about a book.”   
"..pain can seem like an endless ribbon. You pull it and you pull it. You keep gathering it toward you, and as it collects, you really can't believe that there's something else at the end of it. Something that isn't just more pain." 

My rating:

34 comments:

  1. Convinced! Adding it to my list.

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    1. Les - This is a quick read and so, so good!!

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  2. I've heard that even people who aren't into magical realism (and I'm not even sure what that means?!) love this book. I had it on my TBR, then took if off b/c of the magical realism, but may add it back on now :)

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    1. Sarah - Magical realism always makes me think of One Hundred Years of Solitude... a book I've never been able to finish.

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  3. You've convinced me I should give it a try.

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    1. Kathy - It would make an excellent weekend read!

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  4. Your three things are my three things as well. I have this one! I liked The Interestings but did not like another book of hers so I figured I'd read this one to get a good feel for her writing since I've had one hit and one miss so far.

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    1. Ti - The Interestings will be one of my favorite books this year, and now this is the second Wolitzer novel I've loved. Shannon (River City Reading) has recommended I try The Wife next. Hope you decide to read Belzhar.

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  5. I absolutely loves this read and I am so glad to see that you did too!

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    1. Sheila - I don't think I've seen a single negative review for this book!

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  6. I really enjoyed The Interestings and I read the synopsis on this and thought "HMMMM". Yeah, I think I'm going to do this, maybe on audio if I can find it.

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    1. Sandy - Beth F loved the audio, so I'd say that's about the best recommendation ever.

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  7. I am going to love this book! I loved The Interestings, enjoy YA, fantasy and some magical realism.

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    1. Nise' - This is definitely a book for you!

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  8. Just finished the audio this week and liked it well enough. No review yet. (I often don't relate to YA these days, but this was pretty good)

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    1. Diane - I didn't even read much YA when I was a young adult... did they even have it back then? ;-)

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  9. I don't like fantasy or much magical realism either so I would have given this a pass. Now, I might give it a read. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. Debbie - This didn't really push any of my normal reading buttons, but I loved The Interestings and really wanted to give Wolitzer another try. SO glad I did!

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  10. I wanted to love this because of the Plath connection, but just couldn't get into it. But I couldn't get into The Interestings, either, so maybe Wolitzer is not the author for me.

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    1. Anbolyn - You may be right about Wolitzer then :-(

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  11. Since your three things apply to me as well and you loved this one I'm going to have to add this to my TBR. I've heard great things about this one but was hesitating because I don't read YA and am not a big fantasy/magical realism lover. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Katherine - I'll be curious to see your reaction to this one!

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  12. I surprised myself by how much I loved this too :-)

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    1. Brona - I've read 3 YA titles this year and that's triple my usual number! They were all great, especially this one.

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  13. Me too -- well I like YA and I'm good with fantasy but I HATE magical realism. I LOVED this book (in audio)

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    1. Beth F - It was your review that finally convinced me to try this book! The print copy was available from the library, so I went that route. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  14. I love Meg Wolitzer even though I don't typically enjoy some of the themes in her books. I will have to look for this one - the cover and title and very intriguing!

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    1. Athira - It's a quick read, too. Perfect for this time of year!

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  15. I've seen this book in bookstores, never knew its a YA book, or that it's in the genre of fantasy/magical realism. High praise indeed. Thanks for sharing this, JoAnn.

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    1. Arti - This is so far outside my normal reading area, it's a wonder I liked it as much as I did. Certainly a credit to the author!

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  16. Oh I didn't know there was a new Meg Wolitzer. How did my radar miss that! Thanks so much for the preview!

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    1. Vintage Reading - This didn't get as much publicity (perhaps because e it's YA?), but is certainly a worthy read!

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  17. I'm dying to read this one! I was surprised by how much I loved The Interestings and so I want to check this out. Also, thanks for your post on American Tragedy. That's what got me to final get my copy off the shelf!

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    1. Melissa - I finally chose to read Belzhar because I loved The Interestings so much. A quick read is perfect for this time of year, too.

      I'm so glad you enjoyed An American Tragedy... a little long and morally heavy-handed, but what a great story! I'm hoping to read Sister Carrie next year.

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