Read Between the Lines / Jo Knowles / Candlewick Press / 2016 / ISBN 9780763691028 / 329 Pages / Young Adult
Book Blurb –
In gym class, a bully breaks geeky, unpopular Nate’s middle finger, leaving it splinted and bandaged to flip off the world. Dreamer Claire envisions herself filling a journal in an artsy café. A group of boys’ scams drivers for beer money. On the cheerleading team, one girl is dating a closeted basketball star and another wonder how she fits in as a “big girl.” They orbit one another in their innocent attempts to understand and be understood, caught up in their ordinary traumas, heartbreak, and revenge. But is it really so ordinary, or is there more – if you read between the lines?
My Thoughts –
There is only one thing about this book that I like. The writing. And that is it. I brought this book in Melbourne and have only struggled my way through it out of guilt because I didn’t want it to be a waste having lugged it all the way home from Melbourne. So, I have been struggling to get through this book since about 3 pages in and have really no idea what it is about. The blurb I have added above sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Well that is what sucked me into the book in the first place, but the blurb is nothing compared to the story.
The story follows a group of individuals and what happens to them on one specific day. It goes from person to person, all in first person, until the last person who is written in third person. A combination of high school students, nerds, jocks, cheerleaders to adults, wealthy, poor and struggling. It is a who’s who in the book, mixed with a bunch of weird friends to make it worse. The names are confusing and the set out of the story doesn’t really help. The concept is great but it wasn’t executed properly. I think if the stories were more involved with each other and you didn’t have to wait for the next one to know how they all know each other, then it would have flowed better. The book feels like a group of short stories that happen to slightly interrelate with each other. It’s not a complete story even though it is trying to handle a few pretty heavy themes throughout the story.
Suicide, depression, mental health illnesses, and a whole range of other issues are played out in the story and even though there is supposed to be some sort of message to this book, I honestly couldn’t tell you what it is meant to be.
The front cover art work is pretty cool, not something you see on many young adult books and it is pretty much the main reason why I picked up this book. I thought it would be better and I really wanted it to be, but it just didn’t work for me in the end.
If you are looking for a unique combination of short stories that don’t seamlessly connect about teenagers and adults, then this is the book for you.
I give this book 1.5 out of 5 Booky Stars!
You can grab a copy of this book from links on the right-hand side of this blog.