Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Review: This Is the Story of You by Beth Kephart

This Is the Story of You
By Beth Kephart
Publication Date: April 12, 2016
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Buy It: Amazon / BookDepository
Source: Edelweiss

On Haven, a six-mile long, half-mile-wide stretch of barrier island, Mira Banul and her Year-Rounder friends have proudly risen to every challenge. But then a superstorm defies all predictions and devastates the island, upending all logic and stranding Mira's mother and brother on the mainland. Nothing will ever be the same. A stranger appears in the wreck of Mira's home. A friend obsessed with vanishing disappears. As the mysteries deepen, Mira must find the strength to carry on—to somehow hold her memories in place while learning to trust a radically reinvented future. Gripping and poetic, This Is the Story of You is about the beauty of nature and the power of family, about finding hope in the wake of tragedy and recovery in the face of overwhelming loss.

My Review:

   When the director, Ginee Seo, wrote a letter to the reader she wasn't lying when she said reading a work by Beth Kephart for the first time would be enviable and that this book would get under your skin. This is my first novel by Beth Kephart and I have to say it was a positive experience overall. It's a moving novel about a girl, Mira, being separated from her family when a huge storm hits their small six-mile island. It's a thrilling read that will have you wanting to devour it in one sitting. The writing was good overall and the poignant moments were felt even more with the poetical writing. You were sucked into the story and the transitioning between scenes and flashbacks were done well. The aftermath of the disaster was incredibly realistic. Mira suffered a head injury and her account of the aftermath seemed impaired by it; not everything seemed cohesive when she was narrating. However, I didn't feel any strong connections with the characters other than Jasper Lee.   
   Also,to me there were many times something was repeated.. I don't know if this was to make it more poetic and make sure the audience understood certain points that the author felt was poignant. I felt the ending could have been longer. I was so invested in the story that I was hoping for some more closure with certain characters. The story seemed at times ethereal  given the writing style and plot (an aspect I enjoyed), and I kept expecting some magical realism to appear in the novel (there isn't). Overall, I felt this is perfect for the intended audience. It struck a chord with me at the end and I liked Mira's relationship with her brother, Jasper Lee. I loved how Kephart wrote Jasper Lee. He is supposed to be 10 years old, but he acts so much wiser than that. The author created the character with hopes, dreams, and an eloquence that wouldn't be normal at that age. There is a great family dynamic. I would recommend to pre-teens and older. I usually don't go for contemporary reads, but this put the faith into me to read more. 

"A storm is the universe speaking. A storm is science. A storm takes everything away. Batters the rooftops, crashes the windows, tears up the gardens, sends the stop signs spinning. The walls are gone, the giraffe floats out to sea, the fawn shows up in the midst of dawn, and everything that was private isn't anymore. Lives are inside out, histories are, everybody has a confession. We make our own order."

Thank you to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for sending me a review copy!


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