Tag: magical realism

BOOK REVIEW: Resurrection Girls by Ava Morgyn

BOOK REVIEW: Resurrection Girls by Ava MorgynResurrection Girls Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Olivia Foster hasn’t felt alive since her little brother drowned in the backyard pool three years ago. Then Kara Hallas moves in across the street with her mother and grandmother, and Olivia is immediately drawn to these three generations of women. Kara is particularly intoxicating, so much so that Olivia not only comes to accept Kara's morbid habit of writing to men on death row, she helps her do it. They sign their letters as the Resurrection Girls.

But as Kara’s friendship pulls Olivia out of the dark fog she’s been living in, Olivia realizes that a different kind of darkness taints the otherwise lively Hallas women—an impulse that is strange, magical, and possibly deadly.

Thank you to Netgalley the publisher and the author for an ARC in exchange for a honest review.

I was death’s sister.
She was a murderer’s daughter.


Resurrection Girls was a really interesting book and not really like anything I’ve read before. The blurb doesn’t really do it justice – it seemed like it was going to be a dark book with a bit of a paranormal or thriller aspect. But that’s not the case. The subjects discussed in the book are certainly dark and heavy, but there’s really no mystery or paranormal to be had.

Olivia Foster is drowning in guilt after the death of her younger brother three years ago. Her parents are barely functioning, and Olivia is drifting through life. That is until a new family moves in across the street. Kara Hallas is the spark that Olivia needed to break out of her solitary life.

If Kara were punctuation, she’d be an exclamation, never a period. I…I would be an ellipsis, a thought waiting to happen, to complete itself, but never fully arriving. Prescott would be a hyphen because there was more to him than what the eye.

As Olivia and Kara begin to spend time together, they begin to write letters to men on death row and sign it as the Resurrection Girls. Their neighbor (and Olivia’s long time crush) Prescott gets roped in to their group and soon the trio begins to spend a lot of time together. There’s a charged dynamic between the three of them and it constantly feels like they are balancing on the end of a board together, always close to ruining the balance and crashing apart.

And while there’s no paranormal occurrences, there’s a kind of magical realism surrounding the Hallas women.

If you’re looking for a book that will thrill you or feature things that go bump in the night, this isn’t it. There’s a lot of focus on grief and what it takes to heal from horrible tragedies. Overall, once I understood better what this was, I really enjoyed it. Olive, Kara and Prescott were great main characters, especially Olivia. I truly felt for her and her family situation and was rooting for her the whole time.

Somewhere between the scented lip gloss, deadly pen pals, and crazy grandmother lay the real Kara Hallas. A girl who was haunted by far more than I had ever been. And I had just met her.

Content Warnings: Discussion of death, death of a child, drug use/overdose, drug addiction, depression and sex.

BOOK REVIEW – Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King

BOOK REVIEW – Still Life with Tornado by A.S. KingStill Life with Tornado by A.S King
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

“I am sixteen years old. I am a human being.”

Actually Sarah is several human beings. At once. And only one of them is sixteen. Her parents insist she’s a gifted artist with a bright future, but now she can’t draw a thing, not even her own hand. Meanwhile, there’s a ten-year-old Sarah with a filthy mouth, a bad sunburn, and a clear memory of the family vacation in Mexico that ruined everything. She’s a ray of sunshine compared to twenty-three-year-old Sarah, who has snazzy highlights and a bad attitude. And then there’s forty-year-old Sarah (makes good queso dip, doesn’t wear a bra, really wants sixteen-year-old Sarah to tell the truth about her art teacher). They’re all wandering Philadelphia—along with a homeless artist allegedly named Earl—and they’re all worried about Sarah’s future.

But Sarah’s future isn’t the problem. The present is where she might be having an existential crisis. Or maybe all those other Sarahs are trying to wake her up before she’s lost forever in the tornado of violence and denial that is her parents’ marriage.

“I am a human being. I am sixteen years old. That should be enough.”

►Nothing’s really original so let’s not start, alright?

“In eight days of riding around, that’s what I’ve discovered. It’s raining bullshit. Probably all the time.”

I’m gonna be unoriginal and repeat what my fri en ds already said : don’t be fooled and think that it’s about an angsty teenage girl. It’s really not. Or maybe it is, partially, but A.S. King challenges the way we see angsty teenage girls. After all, aren’t we all a little unfair when judging them? What’s our goal when we deny their right to be upset about things?

“But now it’s been so long that if I bring it up, I’ll look like a girl who can’t let go of things. Teenage girls always have to let go of things. If we bring up anything, people say we’re bitches who can’t just drop it.”

Think about this for one second.

Go on.

Now : what does that say about us as a society? Because I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure that it stops at some point in our life. I can’t even express how
furious
that makes me feel.

people say we’re bitches

who can’t just drop it

This sentence, here? It brings our world into a cruel and unforgiving light, making me want to throw up a little. We’re so quick to judge people and assume that their problems aren’t that bad. We’re so quick to dismiss their struggles and tell them they’re overreacting. Especially when they’re women.

But what’s less original than identifying with the main character? Granted, it’s not something that makes me feel comfortable.

Sarah, though. Why, thank you, that hit me pretty hard.
I’m perfectionist.
In my bubble.
I forget stuff.
Personal stuff.
I’m not talking about, oh, crap, that letter! stuff.
I’m more talking about, wow, how could I even forget THIS happened?? stuff.
I have a very good memory, thank you very much.
It’s just – selective, unreliable, when I’m concerned : nearly perfect for the most random things, including school stuff, but comes a big emotion and pfiouuuu here it goes.

In limbo.

It does not mean that I will never remember again, oh, no! It would be one million times easier. My limbo is usually the most active around, I don’t know, midnight? When I can’t do anything about it? When my mind is going round and round in circles? And then I’ll forget.

Again.

If Sarah moved me, Helen destroyed me. The family’s relationships were so complex and heartbreaking. Again, A.S. King brought such realistic characters to life, how could they not touch me in my very core?

Next would be this : it looks the same as so many books but really it’s different. Trust me. It may be the touch of magical realism she always incorporates in her stories. It may be her writing, beautiful but so very honest. Or she may be that good, but even if the issues she deals with never strike as being original, if I may say, her books are impossible to compare to anything I read before.

Finally, what’s less original than complaining about issues let open in the end? So let’s do this.

Except… Except I won’t, because when your stories ring so true, there’s no such thing as an unrealistic open ending. It’s only life. Period.

► I would say that I was pleasantly surprised, except it would be a lie : A.S. King is so constantly good at dealing with somewhat common issues. Her stories are just my kind of weird and manage to hit me all the same. Of course I recommend.

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