Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab

Caro Mitchell considers herself an only child—and she likes it that way. After all, her much older sister, Hannah, left home eight years ago, and Caro barely remembers her. So when Caro’s parents drop the bombshell news that Hannah is returning to live with them, Caro feels as if an interloper is crashing her family. To her, Hannah’s a total stranger, someone who haunts their home with her meek and withdrawn presence, and who refuses to talk about her life and why she went away. Caro can’t understand why her parents cut her sister so much slack, and why they’re not pushing for answers.

Unable to understand Hannah, Caro resorts to telling lies about her mysterious reappearance. But when those lies alienate Caro’s new boyfriend and put her on the outs with her friends and her parents, she seeks solace from an unexpected source. And when she unearths a clue about Hannah’s past—one that could save Hannah from the dark secret that possesses her—Caro begins to see her sister in a whole new light. (from GoodReads)

I was really curious to read The Opposite of Hallelujah because I read Anna Jarzab's first novel (All Unquiet Things) and enjoyed it a lot. The books are totally different but I absolutely loved The Opposite of Hallejuah, which shows how good of an author she is!

Even though The Opposite of Hallelujah isn't a straight mystery like All Unquiet Things, there are still some mysterious aspects. I wanted to get the backstory on Hannah and find out why she decided to go in and then why she left. Lucky for me, Caro has the same goal.

The relationship between Caro and Hannah is interesting because even though they are sisters, they barely know each other. Hannah is eleven years older than Caro, which means Caro was only eight when Hannah left. My siblings and I are really close in age, so the dynamic in Caro's family was completely different. What was nice was seeing the girls become closer in their relationship even though they are so far apart in age.

Religion plays a huge role in The Opposite of Hallelujah, obviously because Hannah was a nun. But Caro becomes even more interested in her faith and questioning aspects of Catholocism. Previously Caro was a Christmas and Easter church-goer so it was interesting to see that change once Hannah comes home. Since I'm not religious at all, I liked that the author wrote the book with an open mind and didn't become preachy.

There were so many things going on in The Opposite of Hallelujah, but all the themes were woven together seamlessly. There was the religion part, family dynamics, sister relationships, friends, school, Caro's love interest, science, grief, forgiveness, and healing. It sounds like a lot but the author did a great job of incorporating all these aspects in one book. The Opposite of Hallelujah is a pretty deep book, but I also found myself laughing at parts. I literally couldn't put it down even though I had to go to sleep. I would recommend it to anyone that likes to read because I can't see someone not liking it.

Rating: 10 out of 10.
FTC: received from LitPick

2012/Delacorte/464 pages

1 comment:

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