Friday, August 9, 2013

Review: The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab

The Opposite of Hallelujah
by Anna Jarzab
Published: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Available: Amazon

Caro Mitchell considers herself an only child—and she likes it that way. After all, her much older sister, Hannah, left home eight years ago, and Caro barely remembers her. So when Caro’s parents drop the bombshell news that Hannah is returning to live with them, Caro feels as if an interloper is crashing her family. To her, Hannah’s a total stranger, someone who haunts their home with her meek and withdrawn presence, and who refuses to talk about her life and why she went away. Caro can’t understand why her parents cut her sister so much slack, and why they’re not pushing for answers.

Unable to understand Hannah, Caro resorts to telling lies about her mysterious reappearance. But when those lies alienate Caro’s new boyfriend and put her on the outs with her friends and her parents, she seeks solace from an unexpected source. And when she unearths a clue about Hannah’s past—one that could save Hannah from the dark secret that possesses her. Caro begins to see her sister in a whole new light.

The Opposite of  Hallelujah was a well crafted story that delved into the psyche of a teenager struggling with faith, family, and life. I though Jarzab did a great job of building believable characters and even though Caro got on my nerves a lot, it was because she was responding in a way that would be typical of a teen. She didn't know how to deal with some of the things happening to her and her family, so she was trying to take the easy way out. 

I really enjoyed seeing how Caro grew throughout the story. And that is probably the biggest reason why I didn't mind that she got on my nerves. In the beginning she acts like a spoiled brat, but even then there are hints that maybe she could be likeable. By the the time the climax comes around, I really felt for her and could see her realizing that the people around are more than what she sees on the surface.

There is of course a romance angle, and I actually liked Pawal. He's not the over the top romantic lead, or the bad boy, he's just a regular boy. There is no inta-love between them, and their relationship made sense. I especially loved how Jarzab deals with him finding out about Caro's lies.

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