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.
From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance
Source: Simon and Schuster Australia (thank you!!!)
This is one of those books which left me speechless and awed. I really don’t know what to say about this book without spoiling it. If you’ve read this book then you understand what I mean. But I will remain as spoiler-free as I can. I’ll probably drop hints here and there but other than that you are safe and sound.
This book is very insightful on what it means to be in mourning and in grief. This books pretty much breaks the stigma that mourning and grief means death. All the characters in the book which are in Special Topics in English are all named “fragile” but all of them are mourning over something different. Some of them are seemingly insignificant but to each of them, it has changed them. I found that this book had a lot of concepts that were similar to Dead Poet’s Society and I didn’t mind that at all. A life-changing English lesson with a blunt teacher was what this small bunch of students needed. And with that they were able to grow closer together and learn how to confess their struggles and with that, also accept it.
I loved the whole idea that every time they wrote in their notebooks, it transported them into a world (Belzhar) that what they had lost still existed and that everything was all right, again for them. There’s another stigma that to overcome grief you have to forget about it and move on. Instead, this book thrusted these kids into remembering what they had lost but instead of breaking them, it raised them. In Belzhar, everything was as it was except there was a catch that you couldn’t do anything that you hadn’t done with that lost thing before. To them, it was fine but these two weekly visits, allowed them to move on and see what they still had in reality.
The characters in the book were very substantial, you could relate to them and you could understand everything they were undergoing. The writing was honest, there was no beating about the bush and I loved how this book let you assume one thing then after going through this whole 250 page journey, it dropped a bombshell. It’s a very surprising and enjoyable read and I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Dead Poet’s Society and the Breakfast Club.