Published: June 27th 2011 by Penguin
Date Finished: 5th December 2011
Rating/Recommendation: 4 Stars
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.
This quirky, lyrical short story was both puzzling and provoking. Written in third person, the stylistic choice of writing was a little off putting to begin with. If you are looking for a grammatically professional novel, look elsewhere as there is no capitalization and the whole book is broken up into strange parts, but when you get past that it is really easy to read and quite fascinating.
At a glance there isn’t really all that much meat to it, it lacks description in a good way because the story is shared in a way that I don’t think I have read before, or at least not much. Mia the main character who is in year 12 heads over to Alaska to live with her older sister Em and her family. More to escape their alcoholic mother and her illness more than anything, but she learns what love means and even finds a friend in Ethan.
The interactions that occur when she escapes is an interesting journey and how she has fared under the affects of her mother’s illness are apparent in her nature as well as her sisters. I disliked Terrance for that reason and I wanted to punch him in the face for calling his wife weak. It takes a great person to understand the affects and behavior of someone who has suffered in a dysfunctional family and I know too well how the mindset changes and grows when living with an alcoholic parent. Maybe it was the raw simplicity of this story that made me enjoy it so much. It was realistic while still being magical at the same time.
I thought the environmentalist elements blended with Mia’s sense of purpose was handled beautifully. She really found her calling; her voice and I liked to see her stand up for her beliefs. In this respect the relationship she has with her older sister Em can only be described as dependable and heartbreaking for the most part. I could understand the false sense of safety and security that would to them both always be a constant fear, but Mia almost lives her life with small risks and I think she’s better off for them.
This is a wonderful, poetic novel with dark undertones that cause both suspense and tension while at the same time unfolding a multi layered story. I would recommend this book to anyone. I believe it is published in Australia, and you may be able to acquire it online. Pick it up, and let me know your thoughts.