Sunday, March 6, 2011
Review: A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell
Author: Lisa Ann Sandell
Publish Date: April 2009
Page Count: 272 pages
Summary: Cora Bradley dreams of escape. Ever since her reckless older brother, Nate, died in a car crash, Cora has felt suffocated by her small town and high school. She seeks solace in drawing beautiful maps, envisioning herself in exotic locales. When Cora begins to fall for Damian, the handsome, brooding boy who was in the car with Nate the night he died, she uncovers her brother's secret artistic life and realizes she had more in common with him than she ever imagined. With stunning lyricism, Sandell weaves a tale of one girl's journey through the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love.
Review: I think the only reason I picked this book up was because I loved the cover. I thought the title was AWESOME and I thought that it would have a lot to do with maps, kind of like North of Beautiful, which tied them in really well. And while I wouldn't say I was disappointed, I wasn't exactly satisfied.
First off, the characters - they were very well-developed and definitely believable, especially Cora's new friend Helena. I was not satisfied by how her relationship with her best friend Rachel panned out and I thought her romance with Damian was a little too easy. At the end, everything was wrapped up a little too tightly, leaving no room for questions, which I like at the end of novels, even if there is a happy ending. I think Cora was a little young for my tastes - just starting high school - and so I didn't relate to her as much.
The narration was bogged down by over-description, which made me skim a little too much for my liking. While some people may think that Sandell's prose is lyrical, I have to disagree. I don't think that it added much to the narration to describe feeling to nth degree. In fact, I think it made the prose weaker, since it relied on - sometimes cliched - descriptions.
Also, Nate. (This may be a little spoiler-y.) I thought it was kind of a HUGE coincidence that both he and Cora were into art. He even had his own studio with Damian in an old barn? It was just easy. And he thought he was so messed up because he loved art and hated school, but he never even told anyone he liked art; he just assumed that he and Damian were screwed up because of it. I could see if both of them did lots of drugs or something, but they didn't. They just skipped school and made art and were kind of assholes, but they're teenage boys. That is not strange at all.
Overall, I thought this book was okay. I wasn't blown away by it or anything, but I didn't love it or anything. I guess I'll just say I had no strong feelings about it.
Overall: 3/5 stars