Saturday, 25 August 2012

All We Know of Heaven by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Title: All We Know of Heaven
Author: Jacquelyn Mitchard
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 2008
Rating: Four out of Five

Two best friends

A horrific accident

One survives

But which one?

Based on a true story of mistaken identity, "All We Know of Heaven" is a universal story of ordinary people caught up in an unimaginable tragedy and of the healing power of hope and love.

This novel was inspired by a true story. It is about two girls, Bridget and Maureen, who are so alike and yet so different at the same time. They look quite similar, they have the same colour hair and eyes, and they are the same height. The two have been best friends since they were small children.

One night while travelling home from a cheerleading practice, there is an accident, an extremely serious one, and the lives of these two girls are changed forever. One girl dies while the other one survives. One family buries their child, while the other sits over their child's hospital bed as their injured and broken daughter lies in a coma. When the girl, who is believed to be Bridget, finally wakes from her coma, it is soon realised that the wrong child has been buried.

This is really a fantastic novel. The book is unputdownable! It's a tale of tragedy and hope, renewal and death, romance, growth and forgiveness. The characters are portrayed so clearly and vividly. It is a thrilling read and nearly impossible not to become completely absorbed into the situation.

Four stars!

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Title: Forbidden
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Pages: 432
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 2010
Rating: Four out of Five

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.

Seventeen- year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book at first due to the extremely sensitive subject – incest – but I actually enjoyed it and by the time I was half way through the novel, I found myself rooting for the couple and desperately hoping for a happy ending for them which I knew would never happen.

This novel makes you re-think everything you've thought about consensual incest and realize that it does happen and what terrible pain and heartache it causes to those that themselves involved in it. I was impressed at how Tabitha Suzama tackled such a taboo subject and made the story believable at the same time.

No matter how wrong, sick and disgusting you may think consensual incest is, I challenge you to read this novel and not find yourself painstakingly wishing that Maya and Lochan could somehow find a way to be together.

Four stars!

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

Title: The Last of the Mohicans
Author: James Fenimore Cooper
Pages: 448
Genre: Classics
Published: 1826
Rating: 3.5 out of Five

The wild rush of action in this classic frontier adventure story has made The Last of the Mohicans the most popular of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales. Deep in the forests of upper New York State, the brave woodsman Hawkeye (Natty Bumppo) and his loyal Mohican friends Chingachgook and Uncas become embroiled in the bloody battles of the French and Indian War. The abduction of the beautiful Munro sisters by hostile savages, the treachery of the renegade brave Magua, the ambush of innocent settlers, and the thrilling events that lead to the final tragic confrontation between rival war parties create an unforgettable, spine-tingling picture of life on the frontier. And as the idyllic wilderness gives way to the forces of civilization, the novel presents a moving portrayal of a vanishing race and the end of its way of life in the great American forests.

The novel was entertaining and enjoyable but I found it took real patience to get though, especially at the beginning. I found the amount of descriptions of the setting and scenery was over-done, it was extremely infuriating after a while but I managed to stick with it. The second half of the book was a lot better than the first - the pace of the novel speeds up, there's a lot more action. I really enjoyed the novel once I got passed the halfway mark. This novel may be hard-going, but it's worth reading. You will need to take some time over it and persevere with the first half, but when you finish the novel you'll feel it was worth it.

Note: You'll need a dictionary or the internet to hand to translate the French dialogue, but this doesn't occur much.

3.5 stars!