Published by Simon & Schuster UK on 9th October 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Issues, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon US • Buy on Amazon UK
"I was sent here because of a boy. His name was Reeve Maxfield, and I loved him and then he died, and almost a year passed and no one knew what to do with me."
A group of emotionally fragile, highly intelligent teenagers are mysteriously picked for Special Topics English, tasked with studying Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and keeping a journal.
Each time the teens write in it they are transported to a miraculous other world called Belzhar - a world where they are no longer haunted by their trauma and grief - and each begins to tell their own story.
From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer, and published by John Green's editor, Belzhar is a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.
Reviewed by Kelly
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
When I unexpectedly received a review copy of Belzhar through the post, my initial reaction when I read the blurb was “WOW, this sounds so good. I want to read it NOW!” I LOVED the idea of Belzhar, the novel, not the place within the novel, but in the end I only liked it.
To me, it felt under-developed and unfinished. I needed to know more about some of the characters, such as Sierra, before I was happy to leave them. There was a romance between Jam and one of her fellow Wooden Barn students but instead of feeling swept up by it, I just felt that it was rushed and didn’t completely fit with what Jam was going through. There was a twist to the story, a big one, and to be really honest when it was revealed it was a bit anti-climactic. I will say this though – I am usually really quick at working things out but I didn’t foresee this twist at all. Bonus points! And the explanation for the journals and what they were capable of was just…flat.
I’m torn with this one. and really at a loss as to what to say in this review. I didn’t hate it, but I did have some issues with it. I think had it been longer, and with more detail, it could have gone from OK to great.