Thursday, August 15, 2013

ARC Review: Believe

Believe by Sarah Aronson
3/5 stars
Carolrhoda, 2013
287 pages
YA Contemporary
Scheduled to release September 1

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The sound of this book was so unique that I just had to give it a read-I loved how it seemed to be looking at BIG things like religion, war, and politics in the YA setting. While I enjoyed those explorations, I really had trouble clicking with the main character and often found myself frustrated with her, making this a less than awesome read.

When she was just six years old, Janine was the sole survivor of a suicide bombing in Israel, earning herself the title Soul Survivor and becoming famous. Ten years later, she struggles with the physical effects of this on her hands, with the notoriety of such a title and those who would push her to use her fame for a cause, and with the loss of her parents who died in the bombing that tragic day. She just wants to be left alone. However when her friend Abe survives an accident and a boy miraculously walks after she lays hands on them both, she starts to question what it means to believe.

As I said, I found the concept for this book very thought provoking and I think the author did a great job setting up these questions. I feel like I hear a lot about the potential for suicide bombings and I remember watching about them on TV. To read a book about someone who survived one is remarkably unique. Unfortunately I didn't really like Janine. I know she's only a teenager in a really crappy situation but I hated her protestations about not wanting fame and yet her ability to always drop her reason for fame if someone wasn't acting in accord with how she wanted them to.

The part that really worked for me was Janine's interaction with the man who pulled her out of the rubble, which was his own launchpad for fame in the religious community. He seems to earnestly believe and circumstances bring them together as she explores her own faith. Another part was Janine's more adult assessment of her parents. She remembers their life together as an idyll but after reading her mother's journal from the time, it is far more complicated than that.

Otherwise, I just didn't find Janine that compelling and though I dutifully finished this book, I can't rave and recommend it to you. I mean, it's an interesting read, could be good for a book club, but it's not a favorite of mine.

12 comments:

  1. Hm, good to know. It does sound really different and ambitious -- which might be reason enough for us to check it out (since you said it doesn't suck, lol).

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    1. I admired its ambitions so much even though it didn't really end up being my style. I hope people still give it a chance!

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  2. Is there any romance in this book? The concept does sound interesting and the cover of the book is appealing. If I see it in my library I'll definitely read it.

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    1. There is a teeny bit of romance but that's not really important, which was something I ended up valuing.

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  3. thanks for the truthful thoughts! I'm curious about this one, and I would like to check it out! Good to know the MC can be a bit frustrating though.

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    1. You're welcome-I hope you do indulge your curiosity and I'd love to read how it strikes you.

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  4. I haven't heard of this one but I do like the premise. Not sure if this one is for me but it might find an audience with one of my social studies teachers!

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    1. I could see this being analyzed in a school for academic purposes. I loved the premise so much and yet just couldn't click with this whole work.

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  5. This definitely sounds interesting plot wise but I think that MC might drive me a bit nutso!

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    1. We would not be besties to say the least!

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  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, I haven't seen it before. It does sounds like it would be an okay read.

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    1. Yes, it doesn't seem to have gotten much buzz and as it's contemporary, I feel like it might slip under the radar.

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