Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review: The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell

The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publish Date: November 8, 2011
Hardcover, 240 pages 
Fiction, Young Adult
 ISBN: 978-0385740487

My Review:
Love.  That pretty much sums up how I feel about this book overall.  I loved it.  I loved the book, loved the plot, loved Sandinista, loved The Pale Circus and loved the writing.  It's an amazing and overwhelming book.  When it's done I just sat there and thought, "well, that's over" and then thought about it some more and I have to say even a month later I still think about this book and the characters.  It was just that good to me.

But first you need to know this is not fluff.  This is not your happy-go-lucky feel-good novel.  Sandinista has lost her mother.  She is alone and now she feels let down by the one thing she had left to count on, the school system.  She turns to work, a job she gets at a great store called The Pale Circus and a friendship with Bradley who works there and is pretty screwed up as well.  As she and Bradley explore the world inside and outside The Pale Circus the reader is taken along for the ride.  We are there for all the bumps and wrong turns along the way.  And each wrong turn is important, everything that Bradley and Sandinista do or don't do will eventually shape the main decision that Sandinista makes.

Watching this was mesmerizing.  The book is almost impossible to put down.  It feels so raw and gritty and true to life that it is amazing.  I think Ms. O'Connell has a real grip on the teenager in this novel.  Sandinista is an amazing character and watching her through the novel is nothing short of amazing.  I also love the musical references and the great clothing mentioned in the book, which was perfect since The Pale Circus is a vintage clothing store.

Everything about The Sharp Time just comes together to make it one of those reads that really stands out.  If you can't tell I thought this book was really great and I am sure it will make it to the top of one of my lists for the year.  It's so different from anything I have read that I just can't explain it more than to say go out, buy it and read it.  That's it.  Read it, get to know Sandinista and she'll be stuck in your head too.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

About the Book:
Sandinista Jones is a high school senior with a punk rock name and a broken heart. The death of her single mother has left Sandinista alone in the world, subject to the random vulnerability of everyday life. When the school system lets her down, her grief and instability intensify, and she ponders a violent act of revenge.

Still, in the midst of her crisis, she gets a job at The Pale Circus, a funky vintage clothing shop, and finds friendship and camaraderie with her coworker, a boy struggling with his own secrets.

Even as Sandinista sees the failures of those with power and authority, she's offered the chance to survive through the redemptive power of friendship. Now she must choose between faith and forgiveness or violence and vengeance.

About the Author: 
Mary O'Connell is a graduate of the University of Kansas and the Iowa's Writer's Workshop. Her stories have been published in literary magazines including The Sun and Mid-American Review. She teaches at the Lawrence Arts Center and lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with her husband and two children. 


FTC Information: I received this book through Teen Book Scene for an honest review. 


Giselle said...

Oh I've noticed this one a couple of weeks ago and been wanting to pick it up since. It sounds fantastic and I love a book you can't put down!

Xpresso Reads

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I love comments on the blog and do take the time to read them.