Monday, 12 December 2011

Alaska by Sue Saliba

by Sue Saliba

Summary: Mia's heart made a sound that no one heard except for Mia late one night when she woke from dreams into darkness.

Ethan was asleep beside her, and Em was a forest away. Outside it was night and dark and Alaska. The sky was upside down.

When Mia follows her sister halfway across the world to Alaska, she discovers that love can be found in the most unexpected and beautiful of places. But can Mia find the courage to follow her heart in Alaska? And what if the one you love is not all that you wish them to be?
(How awesome is this cover? It's even more awesome in person.)

I'm really not sure what I thought of this book. I expected to love it and my feelings are mostly positive but...I just don't know. I definitely loved certain aspects of it but just not the book as a whole.

I loved the story itself and it was really original. Mia could have been such a great character and her relationship with Ethan and her sister and the other characters and the whole environment aspect of the book could've been amazing - but it was the writing, the execution of the story that I'm unsure of.

The book just left me kind of unsatisfied and I think the way it was written was a huge part of that. The way it ended left me wanting more and not in a good way, it felt both finished and unfinished and I felt like I didn't know the characters at all really even though I just read a few hundred pages about them.

There was just this - distance in the writing? It keeps the reader at arms length to the point where it's hard to know the characters and hard to really care about them. It kind of felt like it was trying so hard to be quirky and original and poetic that it did it at the expense of other important aspects of the book and at times it was hard to follow Mia's thoughts and I'd find myself having to reread bits just to figure out what the hell she was going on about.

This wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for the fact that the best parts of the book were parts that could've been so much better if it were written in a more traditional story format (for example: the relationships in the book, because it felt like they could've been really amazing and I was interested to know more but in the end the book just didn't deliver in that department).

I had heard such glowing things about this book and I think that other people probably love the way it's written. They probably love the style and maybe in another story, I would've loved it too but I think this particular story would've worked better for me if there was just - more. More conversations shown and relationships instead of it all being glossed over and just giving us highlights, more details that actually feel important instead of the character just having her head in the clouds and trying to be deep and meaningful as she stares at the sky and the trees and just - it felt like there should have been more.

I can't really explain all of the things that I wanted answers for that were just left hanging without giving spoilers so I'll leave it at that.

I know this review has been mostly negative but I said my overall opinion of the book was mostly positive - I can't really think of how to put the positive aspects into words beyond it was original and the story was really good and I loved the setting.

It's just...the writing. I'm totally on the fence about it. On one hand, I get why people would love it but on the other - I just don't like a book that leaves me feeling the way this one did, like there should've been more answers, like the characters are strangers to me even though I spent a few hours of my time trying to get to know them...but at the same time, it may not have been such a unique story if it was written any other way. My thoughts are just all muddled.

I do really recommend the book and like I said, I've seen that other people have loved it so even if something about it didn't work for me, it still might for you. I'm not sure if it's available anywhere else but Australia yet - I had to order it from (and it's like £11 for an almost 200 page YA paperback from there) but they have free worldwide shipping so if you can't find it on Amazon or your usual book site, check fishpondworld.


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