Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Review: Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak

Wild Blue Wonder
by Carlie Sorosiak
Release Date: June 26th 2018
2018 HarperTeen
Kindle Edition; 368 Pages
ISBN: 978-0062563996
Genre: Fiction / YA
Source: Review copy from publusher

4 / 5 Stars

Ask anyone in Winship, Maine, and they’ll tell you the summer camp Quinn’s family owns is a magical place. Paper wishes hang from the ceiling. Blueberries grow in the dead of winter. According to local legend, a sea monster even lurks off the coast. Mostly, there’s just a feeling that something extraordinary could happen there.

Like Quinn falling in love with her best friend, Dylan.

After the accident, the magic drained from Quinn’s life. Now Dylan is gone, the camp is a lonely place, and Quinn knows it’s her fault.

But the new boy in town, Alexander, doesn’t see her as the monster she believes herself to be. As Quinn lets herself open up again, she begins to understand the truth about love, loss, and monsters—real and imagined.

My Thoughts
I knew absolutely nothing about this book going into it having not even read the blurb and I was so glad I did it this way as it was a great and pleasant surprise.  I really think the only thing I knew was that it was young adult, but I was sincerely praying it wasn't another fantasy novel as I've really read too many of those for the year and wanted something a bit different. And different is exactly what I got in Wild Blue Wonder.

First of all, the characters.  There wasn't a character I did not enjoy, from wise Nana to Quinn's funny dad to her family members, it all seemed to work rather well,  I enjoyed the interactions between them and how they stood up for each other even when they knew the other person was doing something they shouldn't.  They were all quirky, yes, but the author made it work and I loved the interactions between all of them.  It kind of reminded me of my own family so I felt right at home amongst them.  And while I didn't comprehend the deeper nuances of what had happened the summer before and what had created the rift between Quinn and her brother and sister, I patiently waited it out and was rewarded at the end.  

Why the confusion, you may ask?  The story was told in alternating timelines, with the present happening six months after the first story line and you only get bits and pieces of what happened to Dylan and why and how this affects everyone in the present.  It may seem a bit confusing but it definitely works.  I thought the author did a great job connecting the two timelines in such a way that made things in the present so much clearer as time went by and as events happened.  And because I hadn't read the blurb for the book, I didn't even know who had died until several chapters in which made things even more interesting for me.  So I wasn't clear as to why Quinn kept referring to herself as a monster in the present even though she didn't come across that way in the book.  Nor did I fully understand why she was hiding from the world and her future.  But it definitely becomes quite clear throughout the book.

Friendship and family are the dominating themes of the book and resonate quite strongly throughout everything.  The book is beautifully written and the use of the sea monster really reflects Quinn's thoughts in terms of herself and how she views herself because of what happened in the past; she has to reconcile those sea monsters if she ever wants to have a future.  Her Nana is wonderful in helping her deal with what happened, so clever but unassuming, just there to help her.  I love her Nana.  The themes of grief also resonate throughout the book with Quinn's family trying to deal with the aftermath of dealing with Dylan's death as well as the misconceptions people can have in the midst of their grief.  It was quite poignant and so well done.  

Wild Blue Wonder is a fantastic novel dealing with the issues of grief, resiliency, and healing as well as family and misconceptions.  At the beginning, the whole family was a broken entity and throughout the book we see them heal and come together, but not necessarily in the same way they were before and I have to admire the author for that.  I highly recommend this novel to anyone who likes quirky characters and a beautifully written story.