Monday, July 1, 2013

Too Broken For Understanding

Expected Publication:  August 27th, 2013 (First Published: June 1st, 2012)
By: Elizabeth Pulford, & Angus Gomes (Illustrations)
Running Press Kids
ISBN-13:  9780762450046

Zara has one immediate and urgent goal, and it is to find her brother, Jem. She faces a few complications, though, not the least of which is searching for him in her subconscious while she is in a coma.
Zara’s coma has pulled her into the world of Jem’s favorite comic-book hero. But no matter how quickly Zara literally draws her own escape, she is taunted deeper into the fantastical darkness by the comic’s villain, Morven. All the while she is caught between the present with visits from friends and family in the hospital and the past by flashbacks of a traumatic event long ago forgotten.
The search for her brother may help Zara see the light, but in order to find him, she must face her innermost secrets first. In a multi-layered tale that intertwines comic-book/graphic novel elements with first-person narration, Elizabeth Pulford explores the dimensions of hope, love, loyalty, denial, and truth.


     Zara is looking for her brother Jem, because she's lost him to his favorite comic book hero.  But unknown to herself, Zara's brother is dead and she's in a coma from the motorcycle accident that killed him.  Sorting through the traumatic events of her childhood and the recent mistakes of her life, Zara must wade through everything to get to the truth.  But inside the world of comics there are villains, who always do everything they can to stop the 'good guys' from winning.  Can her family and friends drawn her back into the land of the living, where she'll be forced to face the truth?  Or will Zara choose to keep looking for her brother and leave the land of the living for good?
     This book sounded a bit like an Australian version of If I Stay, only with a darker edge.  Even though I normally steer clear of Aussie YA lit because I just never seem to connect to it that well.  But being who I am, I dove right into it regardless of my initial misgivings.  I felt that this was a great premise, but it suffered from extremely poor execution.  The combination of the childhood kidnapping and it's total disconnect from the main plot about the accident that leaves Zara comatose was really confusing.  I felt like the author was trying to link the two, but they had NOTHING to do with each other so it made zero sense and was distracting.  The idea of Jem being lost in a comic book world was an interesting segue into illustration and allowed for a platform for Zara to work out her issues.  But it was jarring going back and forth between the fictional exploits in the comic world (mixed with her memories/subconscious), and the visits of her friends and family as they try to bring her out of the coma.  
     And I agree with another reviewer that I've seen who said they were frustrated with Zara's mission to find her brother.  It's not like we didn't know what happened to him since the beginning of the book and it makes her 'quest' seem that much more childish and annoying.  Also, the entire book is in flashbacks/one way dialogue.  It makes it kind of hard to build any real semblances of relationships between Zara and the other characters based on the present and not past events/interactions.  Overall, I felt like something was missing from the story that was crucial to me becoming invested in it.  I spent the majority skimming through disinterestedly.  This was not the book for me, but I'm sure there is someone out there who will love it.  I just wouldn't recommend it personally unless you feel some kind of unflagging desire to read it.

VERDICT:  2/5  Stars

**I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication is August 27th, 2013.**

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