*Received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Well it was a really happy accident the day I picked this up. Exceptionally so- cos this is what I like to call a *happy book*
If you’re into contemporaries then this will surely fill you with contentment… and if you’re not then *fear not* there’s more to this book than your regular teen romance. With a magical realism twist, the book gives you that something extra you don’t normally get in this genre. I would have certainly enjoyed reading about an ability like hers- the ability to read people by touch- in a regular fantasy, so it was a pleasant surprise here. Though we don’t get a “yer a wizard Harry” moment where all the uncanny elements are explained away, there were satisfactory scattered hints as to why she has this power and I wasn’t left wondering why.
Personally though, what I enjoyed most about this book was how the themes here were so much bigger than what I would expect from a modest little book. Normally the subjects of epic tales, Zenn Diagram somehow managed to explore huge ideas like sacrifice and forgiveness as a slice of everyday heroism.
This was achieved by making characters you could actually root for. These weren’t “I say I’m nice so I’m nice” sorts of characters- no!- these actually proved their goodness with their actions. And not by grand acts of heroism- just small things- the things that matter.
What was great about them was that they weren’t reduced down to their sum of parts. Sure, they have central interests, like many YA characters, but this doesn’t make them boring. They are not simply a mathlete and an artist (kudos as well for actually coming up with something more than just a jock and a geek)- there is so much more to them than that. The details are what makes them interesting- I loved, for instance, how the main character’s power played into her love of maths and his artistic eye with the recurring image of fractals. (Also thank you for teaching me about fractals- I had a fun time looking up these images)
Part of their complexity comes down to how well their relationships are drawn with their families and each other. Nothing in this book is simple- you get a chaotic snapshot of their lives in a way that makes them very real. You have depth and backstories and more going on under the surface than meets the eye.
In short, you get a lot packed into this simple equation of boy meets girl. I never, for instance, would have expected the plot to go beyond that- because it so rarely does. Yet somehow this book actually managed to simultaneously surprise me with a plot twist *and* an ending that made me go awww. You can’t really ask for more than that.
Rating: 4/5 bananas
So have you read this? Will you be checking it out? Let me know in the comments!