Read 12/8/19 – 12/13/19
I absolutely adored this novel. First, the way the story was told didn’t feel like I was reading a YA novel. Of course, I may have a misconception of what it means to be YA (Ariel Bissett definitely has a more broad definition), but to me, YA is way of looking at the world. We are looking at the world through Glory’s viewpoint. That allows us to see how she perceives the world. In a way, that will be a contorted frame of reference, but what I liked about the story was that what we saw of the real world felt real. It felt like the adults were acting like adults. All the while, Glory is trying to understand them, but that doesn’t stop them from acting in adult ways. All that is to say, King doesn’t hold back. She gives us a complete and real world.
The story is about a young girl who is graduating high school, all the while living with her mothers death at a young age. In comes the dead bat, this weird thing that changes Glory’s life forever. I won’t go any deeper on the plot because it is best to go in knowing less. Although, I don’t think it is a spoiler to say that this a story about coming of age, the symmetry of history and the tragedies of the future. In a way, it is a dystopian novel about what the world could become.
The beauty isn’t just the fascinating premise but the philosophies that King is able to explore with it. Now, imagine that through the eyes of a teenage girl. It is profound and makes you think. It is weird. You don’t know what is real and what is imaginary, and that creates a dark fear for Glory and for the reader about whether or not Glory is of sound mind. All of that alters how she approaches this phase of her life. What’s more, it will decide if and what her future will be.
I loved this book, and I look forward to reading more A.S. King. The subject, premise, and form of story telling is just the kind of weirdness I want to read about. It feels different from the average novel, and I think that can be seen by some of the negative feedback on Goodreads. That said, the weirdness inevitably holds it back from resonating quite as deeply as a more traditional story. I don’t know if it is fair to dock it stars for that because I love that this weirdness exists. Still, I leave it feeling like it isn’t quite a 5 star read. It’s still the best YA I’ve read all year and one of my new favorites. 4.5/5 stars, rounding down.