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Belzhar
Cover of Belzhar
Belzhar
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If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She'd be watching old comedy sketches with him. She'd be kissing him in the...
If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She'd be watching old comedy sketches with him. She'd be kissing him in the...
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Description-

  • If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She'd be watching old comedy sketches with him. She'd be kissing him in the library stacks.

    She certainly wouldn't be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

    But life isn't fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

    Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve's arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam's path to reclaim her loss.

    From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.

About the Author-

  • Meg Wolitzer's novels include The Interestings; The Uncoupling; The Ten-Year Nap; The Position; and The Wife. Wolitzer's short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize. About The Interestings, the New York Times Book Review said, "Remarkable . . . [The Interestings's] inclusive vision and generous sweep place it among the ranks of books like Jonathan Franzen's Freedom and Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot. The Interestings is warm, all-American, and acutely perceptive about the feelings and motivations of its characters, male and female, young and old, gay and straight; but it's also stealthily, unassumingly, and undeniably a novel of ideas. . . . With this book [Wolitzer] has surpassed herself."

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Wolitzer's debut young adult novel opens with Jam Gallahue, who is suffering from the recent death of her boyfriend, Reeve, settling in at the Wooden Barn, a school for teens with traumatic pasts. With the help of mysterious journals, Jam and the four other students in her Special Topics in English course begin to process and heal from their traumas. As narrator Jorjeana Marie renders Jam's haunting vulnerability and her past slowly unfolds, listeners will feel themselves in the role of confidant. Marie uses pitch and pacing to her advantage--both to differentiate characters and to suggest concealed facts and feelings. She can infuse a few words with a character's unique suffering or hope, making her overall narration a touching and intimate experience. E.M.C. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 24, 2014
    After the death of her boyfriend, Jam Gallahue is sent to the Wooden Barn, a special high school for “emotionally fragile, highly intelligent” teens. She begins taking Special Topics in English, a class where she and four other students spend the semester studying one writer’s works: in this case, Sylvia Plath. Jam and her classmates are given journals to write in, and when they do, they are transported to a place they call Belzhar, a place that seems to exist out of time, where whatever tragedies happened to them never occurred. Narrator Marie is adept in presenting this powerful story. Jam’s English boyfriend’s voice is described as having a “scrape” to it. Marie nails that, but his accent comes and goes. This is a minor flaw in the narrator’s otherwise excellent performance. Marie gives Jam a youthful, buzzy edge; an elegant, elderly teacher has a creak to her voice that fits her age; and Jam’s little brother has a slightly squeaky tone. Marie’s choices are all true to the characters and are performed with seemingly no effort. Wolitzer’s book is a carefully crafted, heart-wrenching description of mental illness, and Marie underplays Jam’s affliction so that when the big reveal happens, listeners are taken by surprise. Ages 14–up. A Dutton hardcover.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 7, 2014
    When 10th grader Jam Gallahue meets British exchange student Reeve Maxfield, she fees like she finally understands love, and when she loses him, she can’t get over it. Her grief eventually lands her at the Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school for “emotionally fragile, highly intelligent” teenagers. There, she’s selected for Special Topics in English, a legendary class whose eccentric teacher handpicks her students and gives out journals that, Jam learns, seem to have the ability to take students back to their lives before the disasters that changed them. Making her YA debut, acclaimed author Wolitzer writes crisply and sometimes humorously about sadness, guilt, and anger—Jam’s fellow students each have lines that divide their lives into before and after, and all of them need to move forward. Jam’s class is studying Sylvia Plath, and Wolitzer weaves her life and work into the story with a light hand. Some of this lightness is missing at the end, when Jam reflects how the journals saved her and her classmates, but this is otherwise a strong, original book. Ages 14–up. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, William Morris Endeavor.

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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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