Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Blog Tour: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer - Review and Giveaway!

BelzharTitle: Belzhar
Author: Meg Wolitzer
Series:  n/a
Pages: 266
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's
Date of Publication: 1st October, 2014
Source: Publisher for review*
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

My thoughts:
When I got back from holiday and found Belzhar waiting for me, honestly, I didn't really have a clue what it was about and wasn't that intrigued by the blurb. However, upon tweeting that I'd got it, I was told that it was a really great book and that I should definitely read it soon. So I picked it up and ended up devouring it. It was really, really good.

Belzhar is a book to read blind, but as a basic synopsis: Jam is sent to a boarding school for 'fragile' teenagers, after the death of her boyfriend, Reeve. Here she is enrolled in Special Topics in English, an exclusive lesson reserved only for five specially picked teenagers. No one knows anything about the class or what it entails, and the novel tells the story of what happens there and how it affects the five students, in particular, Jam.

The intrigue around Special Topics in English drew me in quickly and I was eager to find out what was so special about it. I really enjoyed reading about the time they spent in class, and I found myself quite envious of their work and teacher, Mrs Q (although I do love my teacher, my set books and lessons are dreadfully dull). Never before have I been curious enough about the subject matter to research it myself in my own time after reading, especially when that subject matter is poetry! I must admit I'm not a fan of poetry (perhaps I just haven't found the good stuff!) but I actually looked up a poem mentioned in the book and read through it side by side with the novel and that was actually really cool. Very nerdy, but really cool too.

I have mixed feelings about Jam. She kind of annoyed me in that she was so pine-y and mope-y about Reeve, and how she loved him so much and while I can only begin to imagine how difficult it must be to have your loved one die (having never been in such a situation), it did begin to grate on me after a while, especially since they'd only known each other for about forty days (instalove-blech). However, I did have a lot of respect for her, in her situation and can kind of see why she was the way that she was. It's quite difficult to discuss her properly without spoiling the end so while she did annoy me a little, I do have respect and sympathy for her too, and if you really want to understand what I mean you will have to read the book for yourself :P

Belzhar is one of those books that you really should read. It's branded as 'literary YA' and while I dislike that label, it is a great book for discussion and reflection, rather than a lighter-hearted read-in-a-few-hours-and-then-forget-about-it kind of novel. It's had very mixed reviews but I think it explores really well different emotions and the effects of many different experiences on different people, but I'm still very interested in reading other people's reviews and opinions too. With a surprising and unexpected ending it's definitely one to keep you on your toes, and with a potentially delicate subject matter it's very engaging, and I'd definitely recommend it to those wanting something that will challenge, but is still enjoyable.



For your chance to win a copy of this brilliant book, enter the giveaway below! All you have to do is leave me a comment saying why you want to read Belzhar, or if you've already read it, what you thought of the book!

The giveaway is UK ONLY and will end MIDNIGHT 14TH OCTOBER (next Tuesday!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Huge thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel. 

9 comments:

  1. I would love to win this book because I want to find out why she is in the wooden barn!

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  2. I really enjoyed Belzhar and I'm glad you did too! I'm looking forward to reading more reviews because like you said, it offers up much in the way of discussion.

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  3. I really want to read this mainly because it is set in a boarding school, I don't know too much more about it but you said its good to go in blind anyway, it sounds intriguing.

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  4. I would love to read this as I enjoyed The Interestings and the characters in this book sound just as interesting.

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  5. I want this because I really love the idea that it stems from the bell jar! I absolutely adored that book and consider it something that everybody should read!

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  6. It's a book that has so much hype that I just need to read it! The premise is so interesting too :) just really excited about this book.

    Thanks for the giveaway :)x

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  7. Looking forward to reading this!

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  8. This sounds really awesome. I love books about ghosts and the afterlife. Plus, if you say it's devourable? Well. :)

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  9. I have heard so many great things about this book. It's been a while since I read anything particularly 'literary' so perhaps Belzhar would be a good one to get me thinking again.

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Thanks for commenting! :D I love comments, so comment away! :D

*I am no longer accepting blog awards :( I do not have time to go through all the things that come with it, and though I'm honoured you thought of me, I'm sure you can find someone who will love it, and be able to carry out the rules :)

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