Friday

How it Ends by Laura Wiess

Laura Wiess, the acclaimed author who once brought us "a girl to walk alongside Harper Lee's Scout and J. D. Salinger's Phoebe" (Luanne Rice), brings us another memorable young woman, this one at the center of an extraordinary novel of how love ends, how it begins, and what it's worth to protect it...

All Hanna's wanted since sophomore year is Seth. She's gone out with other guys, even gained a rep for being a flirt, all the while hoping cool, guitar-playing Seth will choose her. Then she gets him -- but their relationship is hurtful, stormy and critical, not at all what Hanna thinks a perfect love should be. Bewildered by Seth's treatment of her and in need of understanding, Hanna decides to fulfill her school's community service requirement by spending time with Helen, her terminally ill neighbor, who she's turned to for comfort and wisdom throughout her life. But illness has changed Helen into someone Hanna hardly knows, and her home is not the refuge it once was. Feeling more alone than ever, Hanna gets drawn into an audiobook the older woman is listening to, a fierce, unsettling love story of passion, sacrifice, and devotion. Hanna's fascinated by the idea that such all-encompassing love can truly exist, and without her even realizing it, the story begins to change her.

Until the day when the story becomes all too real...and Hanna's world is spun off its axis by its shattering, irrevocable conclusion. (taken from the back cover of the book)

I finished this last night and I will tell you I am still reeling from the way this story turned out and the feelings that it invoked in me. I began reading this story thinking it would be a YA novel - nothing too, you know. I was expecting the story to revolve around Hanna and her relationship with Helen and how it all revolved around the How It Ends story they are reading in the book (you know, a book inside a book). I had no idea the strong issues that this story would touch upon.

I will confess that at first I wasn’t very thrilled with it. The first 100+ pages were mostly giving you an idea of who Hanna is, her school, her friends, and this crush she has on this boy, Seth. It also gives you glimpses into how Hanna and Gran Helen’s relationship came to be and how slowly as Hanna aged and became more interested in friends, hanging out, shopping and boys... their relationship has slowly dwindled. But if you can stick it through the first half of the book and get to the point where you begin reading “How It Ends” you will find a diamond in the rough. How It Ends not only sucks Hanna into it but, you as the reader too. You become immersed in this world where women are basically seen as reproductive tools, how terrible life can turn for an orphan and even more importantly how to survive this and eventually you’ll find a love story that will have you wondering and hoping that a love like that can actually exist. There is so much about it that I want to say, but I won’t, only because I don’t want to give anything away. The best thing about this story is that when it sucks you in you won’t be able to put it down until you get to that last page. There are so many surprising events that in the end you are just left open-mouthed and in awe by it.

I truly recommend this and hope that, like me, you won’t be put off by the slow start. It was truly a gem.

12 comments:

Crystal said...

This sounds really good. I like books that give a little more than I expect, so I will have to check this out.

Juju said...

What a wonderful review.

Amy said...

Your review really sucked me in! I want to read this book now...and I almost stopped reading your review thinking it was just a usual teen romance story line.

Thank you!
Amy

Jessica (BookLover) said...

Sounds like my kind of book. I think I'll give it a chance. :)

Cinnamon said...

I know! This one was totally great!

Pam said...

I really love the cover - there is something haunting and lonely about it. Great review. Some of my favourite books are ones I didn't enjoy at first...

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Great review. I think it sounds wonderful and I am going to be looking for it!

Veens said...

Your enthusiasm of the book is getting to me - i m putting this one in my wish-list!

Beth F said...

I haven't read this one, but if I do, I'll remember the slow start.

kalea_kane said...

This sounds wonderful. I am definitely going to be on the lookout for this one!

Debs Desk said...

Wow that sounds great, I will have to add it to my wishlist.
Thanks
Debbie
debdesk9(at)verizon.net

Lesley (aka Upper West Side Writer) said...

Any writer who is said to create characters like Harper Lee does is someone I need to explore; thank you for the wonderful review!

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