Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Opposite of Hallelujah

by Anna Jarzab

Carolina has been essentially an only child since she was 8 years old, when her older sister Hannah decided to enter the convent.  Now, 8 years later, Hannah decided to leave the convent and come home.  It's not that Carolina doesn't want her there, but having a virtual stranger move into her house her junior year is not ideal. Besides the fact that none of her friends even know she has a sister (because you try explaining that your sister is a nun and you barely remember her because it's been so long since you've seen her). Yet as Hannah moves back in, it becomes apparent to everyone that everything isn't quite right with her. Carolina is about to find out that old secrets have a way of coming to light, and that it's always better to face things head on rather than try and bury them in the past.

I really enjoyed Jarzab's book.  Carolina is both bratty and compassionate, dealing with the stress of being an overachieving high school student and having her home life completely thrown upside down.  It's easy to think that she's in the wrong most of the time, but as you get to know her you really feel for her situation, it would be really hard to live most of your life with no sister then have one thrown at you and be expected to be best friends with her immediately.  I thought that Hannah's situation could have been talked about more, the end was a bit 'here's all the problems ok now we move forward' but overall it was good. Definitely a good read for teens who are a bit more spiritual. It's a good balance of religion and fiction, making it appealing to a broad audience.  I really liked that it questioned a lot of beliefs and had Carolina really looking at her life. 

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Level: 9th Grade

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