Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer – BEST of 2014
HIgh school student Jam Gallahue is still recovering from the tragic loss of her boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield, the adorable exchange student from Britain. It has been over a year since Reeve died and Jam is still stuck in her thoughts of kissing him in the library, or watching a funny movie together. Her depression and inability to move on is so deep, her parents feel they have no choice when they send her to The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in Vermont for youth of similar struggles.
Jam is selected along with four other students to be in a class called Special Topics. An English class that turns out to be all about the works of Sylvia Plath. When the teacher hands each of the students a beautiful leather bond journal and encourages them to try to write something in them once or twice a week, Jam is certain that she will NOT be writing in a journal.
Yet one evening, Jam does decide to try to write a few lines in the book and when she does she finds herself whisked away, back to a time when she is with Reeve once again. While she fears she may be dreaming, his arms around her are all to real and when she comes back to the present, she finds she has written 5 pages in the journal. What is even more odd, Jam discovers that the other students in the Special Topics class had similar experiences, each going back to a time when things were right before their personal tragedy happened; and each coming back to find that 5 pages in their journal have been filled.
As the group begins to meet outside of class time to discuss their secret; they all wonder what will happen when they get to the end of the journal… and will that close the door to the past even if they are not ready to let go?
I LOVED this book. I loved the idea of a group of teens centered around a class talking about the literary works of Sylvia Plath. I thought the idea of the journals that give you a chance to go back to before things went wrong was brilliant; and the way this brought the group to open up to one another… seriously I want to just write…
GUSH! GUSH! GUSH!
I enjoyed this book on audio and Jorjeana Marie narrated well. I simply did not want to turn this book off! Incredibly well done and thought provoking! Love the title, love the characters…LOVE the book! While I thought the ending would be a bit more powerful (I had my own ideas of what might have been), it was still an amazing book that I would HIGHLY recommend is one of the best this reader has spent time with in 2014.
*I feel this book would make for a wonderful book club discussion… there are lots of what if’s in this one!
Because I want to be able to talk about this book in more detail I am dusting off the Spoiler Button and putting it in play. Please read (or listen to!) the book and then push the button and let’s talk Belzhar!
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 6 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Listening Library
- Audible.com Release Date: September 30, 2014