First things first. The cover is gorgeous; I think it’s even better in person and it suits the story perfectly.
Now to the book. Cora’s brother Nate dies in a car accident which suddenly breaks the entire family as each one of them tries to deal with his death in their own ways. The house is not the same, her parents are not the same and everyone in school thinks she is a freak. Moreover she is starting high school the same year. Could it be any more difficult? And then there is Damien, her brother’s friend who her parents think is responsible for the accident even though he wasn’t the one who was driving. Cora tries to avoid him but gradually they come closer because of a common bond, Nate, or his death for that matter. When Cora discovers something about Nate and Damien she does not know what to make of it. She finds out that there is more she has in common with Nate than she thought she did.
Her mother tries to keep her home most of the time for the fear of loosing her too. All this tends to bring out the rebellious streak in Cora. Being an artist she finds solace in her paintings and eventually everything sorts out, as it usually does in novels.
I loved the way the author shows how different people handle grief differently. For instance Cora deals with everything through her sketches. She sketches places far off, places she has never been to, as a means to escape. By the end of the story, not only do you understand Cora really well but pray that everything works out well for her. The prose is beautiful and the editing is perfect. I don’t think I would omit even a single sentence from the book.
Even though the book deals with a difficult topic, the death of a loved one, it was nowhere overly sad or depressing. Yet, the writing brings out the sadness of the story really well. Although I would say the secondary characters were not very well developed, I feel this was essentially Cora’s story.
Although everything is not perfect at the end, there is a possibility of it. I’ll definitely be checking out Lisa Ann Sandell’s other books.
About the Author:
LISA ANN SANDELL is the author of Song of the Sparrow, a Book Sense Summer 2007 Pick, and The Weight of the Sky, which was named one of the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age. Music and art have always been an important part of Lisa’s life; she is a prize-winning sculptor and also studies drawing. Lisa is a children’s book editor in New York City, where she lives with her husband and their puppy. Check out her site.
I am going to club this with Cover attraction hosted by Marcia. I know it’s hosted on Wednesday, but Marcia please excuse me for posting it a day before :). Usually I don’t participate in this meme because I like every second cover I see. But the cover of this book? Well, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s another book by the same author Lisa Ann Sandell, called Song of the sparrow. I was surprised that I had never read about nor seen this book anywhere on the internet. I don’t think I would forget this cover. I first saw it on Lisa’s site in the books section and then again read about it on the book ‘A map of the known world’. Yes, the same one reviewed above. Please do click on the pic to enlarge the cover, it will be worth it.
So remember both the covers and the titles and don’t forget to pick up the books next time you are in a bookstore 🙂