Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

belzharSummary from Goodreads

If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.

Paperback, 266 pages
Published October 1st 2014 by Children’s Simon & Schuster UK (first published September 4th 2014)

Quickie Review

This such a hard review for me to write. There were parts of Belzhar that I loved and others that I really didn’t. Belzhar is definitely a unique read but I felt like the magical elements to the story were forced and unbelievable.

If for example a group of teens went to work out there issues at a facility by group or talking therapy’s then okay that would of been interesting…Wolitzer almost haphazardly threw in this magical element that I found was totally cringe worthy. I liked the suspense of never quite knowing what main character Jam was going to reveal and when she eventually did…meh!

I don’t want to be totally negative here, I liked Wolitzer’s writing style, Jam’s narrative was interesting and kept me engaged despite the plot randomness. I found the other characters to be much more interesting and their issues much darker. I enjoyed seeing everyone work through their pasts, making realisations and understanding how to move forward.

All in all I think Belzhar is a unique and very quick read that pulled me in and I really couldn’t look away – I think the first half was stronger than the second. The mystery of the storyline is ever so intriguing and the writing really dream-like in places. The downside for me was the lack in character depth and emotion. An okay read for me.

2.5 / 5 Stars

*Special thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing the review copy in exchange for an honest review*

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