14 September 2014

{Book Review} Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

By: Me My Shelf And I | 14 September 2014 at 3:57 PM | | | | | | | | | | |


Author: Meg Wolitzer
Release Date: September 30th, 2014
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Birds

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.

The first thing you need to know about reading BELZHAR, is to not at any time think you know what's coming. It is exactly at that time, the book will whip a u-turn and blow you away with it's change of direction.

When I started BELZHAR, I made the very mistake I just told you not to make. I thought it was going to be another contemporary novel about love and loss and overcoming. You're likely looking at this review and wondering how I thought that because the synopsis reveals enough that you know Jam's journal restores her past in a tangible way. Well, I don't always read the full synopsis – as soon as it grabs me, I just stop. And this one grabbed me pretty much right away…so I didn't exactly see that part.

What I loved the most about this book was that it had an element of "magic" in it, but it's not magic. There's no wands or spells or anything. It's just an unexplained twist that is so well explained that you believe it with out a second thought. To me, this is the best kind of magic, the kind that fits seamlessly into the real world.

Jam, and the other 4 kids in the coveted Special Topics in English class are pretty much a band of misfits, thrown together on the same journey who are eventually required to work together to figure out what on Earth is happening. Their back stories, the things that happened to them that brought them to The Wooden Barn school are incredible! They make the characters all the more remarkable and interesting.

It is however Jam's story, that will surprise you the most. Even though you know it from the start, it's ending will drop your jaw to the ground and you will no doubt utter "Woah…" because like I said – you never really know where this book is headed.

I did have a few small issues with some of the believability the book. Firstly, the vocabulary felt forced from the kids from time to time. It wasn't constant, but it was here and there. 

Also, and this stuck with me and it might sound weird – but one story explains a devastating fire that started in a barn (not The Wooden Barn) by the smoldering end of a joint. The person whose story this is, is busted because though the joint started the blaze, the fireman was able to locate (in a pile of hay) the discarded end as if this tiny, already on fire piece of paper and pot could possibly have survived…

I gave the book 4 stars, because despite my overly picky brain, the concept and ending of this book are beyond anything I could have expected, and it shocked me. This isn't something I can admit very often, and I like when books shock me.


- Follow along on my Instagram for my #FallIntoBelzhar pics with my very own red journal – (which will be at Disney World this week BTW!)

- Seek out the hash tag #FallIntoBelzzhar on Twitter and Instagram to follow all 20 bloggers participating in this one of a kind promotional event!

Find Meg Wolitzer
Twitter | Website

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  1. Ooh, sounds really good. I love unpredictable books that change direction a lot. It keeps it interesting.

  2. I have been seeing this all over and with your review I totally need to get it soon!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  3. I really need to get my hands on this book! It sounds amazing!!


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