Sunday, April 5, 2009

Review: The Anatomy of Wings

Author: Karen Foxlee
Review Copy Provided by: Curled Up With a Good Book

About the Book:  Ten-year-old Jennifer Day lives in a small mining town full of secrets. Trying to make sense of the sudden death of her teenage sister, Beth, she looks to the adult world around her for answers.
As she recounts the final months of Beth’s life, Jennifer sifts through the lies and the truth, but what she finds are mysteries, miracles, and more questions. Was Beth’s death an accident? Why couldn’t Jennifer—or anyone else—save her?
Through Jennifer’s eyes, we see one girl’s failure to cross the threshold into adulthood as her family slowly falls apart. 

My Review:   I've been trying to write this review for 2 days.  I can't seem to get this book out of my head, and that's not a bad thing.  On the back of the ARC is this quote: "Sometimes you read a book so special that you want to carry it around with you for months after you've finished, just to stay near it.  The Anatomy of Wings is one of those books." - Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief.  That's the way I've felt, but I was unsure of how to convey that to you, the readers of this blog.

The Anatomy of Wings touches on so many subjects: death, loss, grief, sex, suicide, family, and social situations.  Reading this book took me through a gamut of emotions.  There were times when I just wanted to reach out to Jennifer, the main character and narrator, hug her and tell her everything was going to be okay.  How do you deal with the tragic loss of a sibling?  I can't even imagine it at my age, much less at the age of 10.  Jennifer's family doesn't deal with it well at all, as a matter of fact, they more or less fall apart.  Jennifer's mom won't get off the couch, dad drinks, Nanna's been ostracized for saying Beth was talking to angels, Danielle is just sad, and Jennifer just wants to find her singing voice and to know what really happened to her sister.

This book is by a new author, Karen Foxlee, and I have to say, for a debut, this is a good one.  It is written in a backwards sort of way, starting with the day of Beth's funeral and then going back to where it all started, when Beth fell at the lake, and then forward from through the story until after the funeral.  In a way, it was hard to get used to the back and forth of it all, because it would go from Jennifer and her friend Angela, in present day, back to Jennifer telling Beth's story, in the past.  Once I got used to the format, it was easy to follow.  It made for a very different read; one that I found very interesting.  Way to go, Karen, for giving us a format that is different and intriguing!

I loved the storyline, as I feel that it is one that many teenagers go through and have to figure out how they will deal with the peer pressure.  Beth was sexually active at 13 and didn't choose the best group to hang out with.  All the pleading of her parents just pushed her further away, to where she would run away for days and they wouldn't know where she was.  She rebelled, as many teens do, but I don't think she really liked who she was becoming.  I like that Foxlee tried to bring her back, but in the end, it was just too much for Beth to handle.  It's a very well written book that touches on a lot of delicate subjects.  Not a book I would recommend for anyone under high school age.  A true YA novel.

This review originally written for Curled Up with a Good Book and crossposted on their site.


Reverie said...

great review?! BRAVO! makes me def read the book now!?

Staci said...

Lovely review and it makes me want to read this book.

RR2 said...

Great review! I saw a lot of negative reviews of this book so I've been hesitant to read it but your review changed my mind.

Beth F said...

Sounds like it's definitely worth checking out. Thanks!

Bingo said...

Sounds like an interesting read...I am glad you reviewed it as I have heard varying reports on this book and yours seems to be fair and so I will try and get one to read now.

Unknown said...

it sounds like a very interesting book. I'm definitely putting it on my wishlist.

bermudaonion said...

That book sounds like it tackles a lot of tough subjects. Teens have a lot to deal with these days.

Sadako said...

Glad you liked it, your review really makes me want to go out and read it, too!

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