Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Map of the Known World (YA)


Sandell, Lisa Ann. 2009. A Map of the Known World. Scholastic. 273 pages.

Somewhere, things must be beautiful and vivid. Somewhere else, life has to be beautiful and vivid and rich. Not like this muted palette -- a pale blue bedroom, washed out sunny sky, dull green yellow brown of the fields. Here, I know every twist of every road, every blade of grass, every face in this town, and I am suffocating.

Meet Cora Bradley. An unhappy often frustrated teen grieving the death of her brother, Nate, and the loss of her parents. Since the death of her brother, her mother and father have each in their own way disconnected from the family. Cora feels alone. Like her mother and father don't care about her, that they don't see her. Only one thing is known, her art gives her life meaning. The time she spends drawing (and painting and whatever else) is her time to just be. It is through her art that she explores herself--her thoughts, her feelings, her hopes and dreams. Her art is her connection to her soul, if you will. Her art keeps her going.

What Cora didn't know--couldn't know--was that Nate, her brother, was also an artist. How does she discover this? Well, Cora starts to fall for Nate's best friend, Damian. They're in art class together, and though they are far apart in ages--one being a freshman, the other a senior--they find a connection that brings them together. Something more than just shared grief.

This YA novel has some traditional themes, recognizable ones. The theme of loss--anger, confusion, sadness--as our heroine, Cora, is grieving the loss of her older brother who died in a car accident. The theme of art saving the day--you know, where being artistic and creative unleashes all the good things in life and allows the character to thrive and come into her own. (Yes, you'll find the sympathetic art teacher that "gets" the heroine like no one else quite can.) The theme of a small-town girl dreaming of the day when she can get out, find freedom in the world, and be her own person. (Cora can't wait to get out! She wants to see the world, the whole world, she wants to travel, see and do it all.) And there is the theme of unraveling friendships as life-long friends grow apart as they want and need different things in life.


© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 comments:

Ceri 8:47 AM  

This sounds like a beautiful story.

Suko 11:02 AM  

Interesting sounding book. I wish I read as quickly as you!

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

My Blog List

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP