Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho

What if you live for the moment when life goes off the rails—and then one day there’s no one left to help you get it back on track?


Althea & OliverAlthea Carter and Oliver McKinley have been best friends since they were six; she’s the fist-fighting instigator to his peacemaker, the artist whose vision balances his scientific bent. Now, as their junior year of high school comes to a close, Althea has begun to want something more than just best-friendship. Oliver, for his part, simply wants life to go back to normal, but when he wakes up one morning with no memory of the past three weeks, he can’t deny any longer that something is seriously wrong with him. And then Althea makes the worst bad decision ever, and her relationship with Oliver is shattered. He leaves town for a clinical study in New York, resolving to repair whatever is broken in his brain, while she gets into her battered Camry and drives up the coast after him, determined to make up for what she’s done.

This YA novel is definitely one of the best written ones out there at the moment. It does, however, leave the reader with a bit of a hollow feeling that makes it lose some of the power it could have had as a narrative. 

Let me start by saying that the writing is beautiful. It is fearlessly honest, which is not always the case with YA novels, and it doesn’t shy away from describing sexual acts or violence. The characters are fully developed and very real, as well, making them stand out of the page from the very beginning. 

The only issue I had with the novel is that I didn’t really connect with it. I can see all of the positive qualities it has and how beautifully it was written, but it didn’t resonate with me. It left me with a bitter taste in my mouth which makes me unsure whether to recommend it or not. In the end, the best thing is to try it for yourself and see if you enjoy it.

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