Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Miracle by Elizabeth Scott

Megan survived the plane crash—but can she survive the aftermath? An intense, emotional novel from the author ofThe Unwritten Rule and Between Here and Forever.

Megan is a miracle. At least, that’s what everyone says. Having survived a plane crash that killed everyone else on board, Megan knows she should be grateful just to be alive. But the truth is, she doesn’t feel like a miracle. In fact, she doesn’t feel anything at all. Then memories from the crash start coming back.
Scared and alone, Megan doesn’t know whom to turn to. Her entire community seems unable—or maybe unwilling—to see her as anything but Miracle Megan. Everyone except for Joe, the beautiful boy next door with a tragic past and secrets of his own. All Megan wants is for her life to get back to normal, but the harder she tries to live up to everyone’s expectations, the worse she feels. And this time, she may be falling too fast to be saved

I am such an Elizabeth Scott fangirl. Her books are always highlights of my reading year (love that she has been such a prolific writer since debuting with Bloom) and Miracle was no different. 

Quiet, unassuming and utterly compelling. This novel was, in parts, relentlessness and terrifying. Yet Scott balances it beautifully with hope and the tiniest spark of life just in all the right places.

I love how Scott writes the bare bones. These succinct, achey sentences. Not quite telling the full story and yet creating a perfect whole, somehow. This style, written sparingly, brings so much depth.

The thing is: I read it whole one quiet afternoon. Found it utterly compelling and heartbreaking and a touch surreal.

And now, weeks later, I am still thinking about it.

I am not ashamed to say I cried in this book. Not just for Megan, but maybe in part for myself. Even though I have no cause to suffer from PTSD, I think all of us can relate to those feelings in some way.

This book felt like the real deal. Not another YA book with a gimmicky catchy hook. Not trying to please a crowd. But as if it was written from somewhere deep inside the character's soul. I don't know how Elizabeth Scott does it. But I hope she never stops.

I wasn't intending to review this due to time. But I just wanted to say something because this book has said something to me. I loved it. I recommend it.

Miracle on goodreads

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Friday Brown by Vicki Wakefield

‘I am Friday Brown. I buried my mother. My grandfather buried a swimming pool. A boy who can’t speak has adopted me. A girl kissed me. I broke and entered. Now I’m fantasising about a guy who’s a victim of crime and I am the criminal. I’m going nowhere and every minute I’m not moving, I’m being tail-gated by a curse that may or may not be real. They call me Friday. It has been foretold that on a Saturday I will drown…’

Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run—running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who’d like her to stay. She’s lost, alone and afraid.

Silence, a street kid, finds Friday and she joins him in a gang led by beautiful, charismatic Arden. When Silence is involved in a crime, the gang escapes to a ghost town in the outback. In Murungal Creek, the town of never leaving, Friday must face the ghosts of her past. She will learn that sometimes you have to stay to finish what you started—and often, before you can find out who you are, you have to become someone you were never meant to be.

Friday Brown is the breathtaking second novel from the author of the award-winning All I Ever Wanted.

Last year I nominated Vicki Wakefield's Aussie YA debut All I Ever Wanted as my favourite book of 2011. She has followed up her debut with the same kind of brilliance that, despite all the warnings of emotional napalm, I was not quite prepared for. 

Friday Brown is such a gorgeous and heartbreaking reading experience. Vicki Wakefield writes in this sublime way ~ her stories have this almost fairytale, other-worldly quality while at the same time feeling so emotionally real and resonant that it aches like the truth. This story is vivid: sorrowful yet full of love, surreal yet devastatingly believable. 

There's this gorgeous blend of adventure and tension. While friendships are being forged and the plot sails ahead into the unknown, there's an undercurrent of danger - just enough to create a pool of dread right in the pit of my stomach. Guys, it was only a solid month after finishing this read that I was able to come to terms with it all and conclude that, simply, this sophomore novel is amazing. 

Wakefield possess the magic combo: prose to die for, sneaky, smiley humour, characters that come to life and work their way into your heart, and a power-packed climax that leaves you breathless a la Jellicoe Road. In some ways, this book reminds me a smidgen of Jellicoe Road - in the way that sometimes it seems like too much ~ the character's backgrounds, heartache and sorrow upon sorrow mingled with the perfect carving of relationships but like JellicoeFriday Brown pulls everything off and more. These characters and this story is brilliant and lingering and will hold fast. 

I especially loved all of Fridays' stories passed down from her mum. Ethereal and beautiful and clever and special, all truth mingled with fantasy and hope mingled with regret. Just gorgeous. 

I cannot not mention what I truly love about Vicki Wakefield's work: her characters are such brilliant teenagers. She never belittles them, instead gives so much life and energy, it rings with the truth. I think the ultimate YA authors are the ones who believe in just how awesome teenagers are, showcasing their resilience and life and ability to have fun and live in a world not dulled by adult sensibilities. 

Vicki Wakefield is an extraordinary talent who would shine in whichever genre she would choose to write in. I am cheering for Aussie teens who can experience books such as this: utterly compelling and life-changing stuff. 

If you're into Aussie YA, Vicki Wakefield should be at the top of your list to check out. Two books out and she is right up there with the cool kids at the top. 

I truly loved this book (even as it ripped me to shreds and patched me up again) and I am thrilled to recommend it to you all and cannot wait to see what you think :)

Thanks ever so much to Text Publishing for my review copy

Friday Brown @ goodreads
Friday Brown @ Text Publishing
Read an excerpt