Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Review: Dante's Girl and The Opposite of Hallelujah

Dante's Girl by Courtney Cole and The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzeb are two very different YA 3/5 star reads!

Dante's Girl is a book you'll probably want to save for a lazy summer afternoon... it's sweet, sometimes a little too sweet and while I liked it, I didn't love it.

The Opposite of Hallelujah is a crushing coming of age tale featuring a down to earth narrator which at its crux, will tear your heart apart.

Review: Dante's Girl by Courtney Cole

Publisher:
 Lakehouse Press
Date of publication: 24th June, 2012
Rating: 3/5 stars
SourceNetGalley
Links: Amazon | Goodreads | The Book Depository

The collage cover is ADORABLE and well, so is the book. Dante's Girl is another book taking on the dream-boy-in-dream-destination theme. Reece's chance encounter with Dante happens while boarding her last flight to London where she spends every summer with her father. Son of the most important man in a gorgeous-unheard-of Greek island, Dante is too good to be true. And so is the rest of her summer at said Mediterranean paradise, where she inadvertently ends up.

If you are willing to suspend disbelief, drink in the over-the-top-ness of certain situations and sigh happily rather than roll your eyes every time Dante is described as "beautiful", this book practically has your name written on it. It has that breezy stream-of-consciousness writing style that's perfect for this kind of book... and the main character, Reece, is down to earth, starry eyed and ordinary in a manner that is lovable. It has all the prerequisites of a dreamy summer romance.

I, however, couldn't sigh happily every time Dante was described as "beautiful" and did roll my eyes at some of the over-the-top situations. But despite my lukewarm feelings towards this book (it's a like-not-love for me), I am certain it does have the potential to be in your love-love-love list.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Review: The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzeb

Publisher:
 Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Date of publication: October 9th, 2012
Rating: 3/5 stars
SourceNetGalley
Links: Amazon | Goodreads | Flipkart India

I had NO idea what this book was about till I dove headfirst into it. And I'm glad. It made the plot, at its core, all the more heart crushingly poignant.

The Opposite of Hallelujah opens with the arrival of Caro's elder sister, Hannah who had left home eight years ago. Hannah's departure from the family is something Caro could never understand, making her the sister Caro pretended was dead. Eight years later, Caro still feels the need to hide Hannah's existence. Only when clues to what made Hannah leave in the first place are unearthed, Caro is shocked at what has sister has been dealing with all along.

I could relate to Caro's annoyance and unexplainable shame when it came to explaining her sister. Her sister, Hannah, was after all mostly absent during her pivotal years as a kid and there was no concrete explanation for her absence. There is something so flinchingly honest about so many of the conflicts, Caro's own thoughts and how she coldly ignored what she didn't understand. And when the rationale behind Hannah's choices is delved into, the impact of the raw pain and guilt that had been suppressed for so long gave me the chills.

While the book dealt with heavy themes, there was this innocence about it that made me fall in love with the story. I felt a part of the Mitchell family, loved getting to know Caro's love interest, Father Bob and the other secondary characters also felt so real... they instantly stole my heart! I cannot imagine going through that roller coaster of confusion, pain and epiphany again, it's just that kind of book but I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. While it was more of a one-time read for me, it was definitely a compelling one at that.

Rating: 3/5 stars

NOTE: Another, yes, I'm really alive note to this post! This time, for real. I'll hopefully get to reviewing all the ARCs that have piled up over the last couple of months! It's great to be back. :) Hope you've been awesome ^^

12 comments:

  1. I so agree the first has a summer vacation look to it and would be perfect to read on the beach. I actually have the Opposite of Hallelujah in my tbr pile, I knew the subject was heavy, and think that is why i keep shuffling it around, but your review and the innocence you felt have me bumping it back up..thanks Pooja :)

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  2. Dante's Girl is more than likely to stir up a few eye-rolls for me (I'm pretty sure of it), though I do think I could have fun with it, too. Sometimes it's nice to get a easy and fluffy read, even if it is a little ridiculous at times. The Opposite of Hallelujah sounds a lot more like my kind of book. I have a copy of it actually and look forward to reading it. Great reviews, Pooja!

    And welcome back! :D

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  3. I agree on Dante's Girl! It was cute if you suspended your belief but I found myself rolling my eyes a lot as well. It was a fun enough way to pass the time though!

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  4. Well it looks like you enjoyed both stories overall but they didn't knock your socks off. Hopefully the next book you pick up will. Great reviews. :)

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  5. Dante's Girl sounds very cute and romantic! However, the fact that you found yourself rolling your eyes at the over-the-top scenarios have me hesitant. I felt that way about Audrey, Wait! and its improbability. Whereas, The Opposite of Hallelujah (love the title!) sounds very chilling and honest. Even looking at the cover gives me shivers. Wonderful reviews, Pooja! :)

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  6. I'm glad you enjoyed both books on some level. Dante's Girl sounds a bit too unrealistic to me. I like a nice summer read here and there, but I'm not sure about this one...

    The Opposite of Hallelujah sounds pretty good though!!

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  7. Welcome back! I read Dante's Girl for a tour last summer and I know exactly what you mean, it was cute and all that but so unrealistic and unbeliveable especially Dante I didn't buy his character for a minute. The Opposite of Hallelujah sounds intense. I will have to remember it the next time in the mood for a gritty contemporary read, which is about never. I read for pleasure and all these emotional books are not always at the top of my list.

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  8. I've had a copy of The Opposite of Hallelujah for ages, but the synopsis scares me a little bit since I generally don't deal with angst very well. But now I simply must find out what kept Hannah away from Caro and the rest of the family.
    It's so good to have you back, Pooja!

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  9. So glad to see you posting again, P!

    Dante's Girl does look cute but I bet I will be rolling my eyes while reading it ;)

    And I defo want to read The Opposite of Hallelujah, too

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  11. Pretty good post. I merely stumbled upon your website and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading through your blog posts. Any ways I'm going to be subscribing for your feed and I hope you post again soon.

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  12. I've heard of both books but never actually know what they are about. Dante's Girl's cover looks cute and the story probably is ;) Need to add both books to my TBR and hopefully get the chance to read them soon.

    Awesome review, Pooja! ♥

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HI. Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. :)