Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab

The Opposite of Hallelujah
Good Reads Summary
The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab

Caro Mitchell considers herself an only child—and she likes it that way. After all, her much older sister, Hannah, left home eight years ago, and Caro barely remembers her. So when Caro’s parents drop the bombshell news that Hannah is returning to live with them, Caro feels as if an interloper is crashing her family. To her, Hannah’s a total stranger, someone who haunts their home with her meek and withdrawn presence, and who refuses to talk about her life and why she went away. Caro can’t understand why her parents cut her sister so much slack, and why they’re not pushing for answers.

Unable to understand Hannah, Caro resorts to telling lies about her mysterious reappearance. But when those lies alienate Caro’s new boyfriend and put her on the outs with her friends and her parents, she seeks solace from an unexpected source. And when she unearths a clue about Hannah’s past—one that could save Hannah from the dark secret that possesses her—Caro begins to see her sister in a whole new light.

My Thoughts
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

What’s interesting is how absolutely unlikeable Caro started out to be, yet I continued hoping that there was something more to the girl.  Seeing herself as an only child is what starts it all: she’s spoiled, whiny and all the flaws pointed out in her were accurate. From lying to being self unwilling to bend, I was seriously hard pressed in finding anything to like in her. Bit by bit though I could see a little into her why’s.

The interaction with her family, her sister and mother especially, had me wondering as she did. Why the different treatment between sisters? And it’s this that amplified the drama even more. It started out normally too. You have a trio of girls each with her own quirks, one in particular dealing with boy troubles. But what would have been the usual drama of girl dealing with ex boyfriends and new boys and best friends and what not, well, we’re dealt with a girl sisters   a family that’s not quite up to the task of dealing with their issues. They all were so unable to deal! Where the parents tiptoe around; Caro wants to go on as she usually did… even though everything had changed, with her not knowing why things had changed.

The reveals though left me feeling like I’d been given the short end of the stick. I simply wanted more. Her sister’s own story is basically the root of what Caro has to deal with. And while the sadness felt right, and while Hanna’s response(s) felt on the spot too. I just couldn’t quite connect to it all. The only time I truly felt more engaged by the story was how Caro chose to respond. It’s not that she “turns to faith” for answers because her position on that was quite clear from the get but that she turns to certain people who’re not quite as one dimensional as she’d pegged them to be.

While I didn’t like her parents methods and I didn’t quite buy into Caro turning to the person that she did, I did like the normal in between's of her dealing with the consequences of her actions. The girl was flawed (and sure, she had her reasons) so there were repercussions (definite plus on that account.) I really do wish I felt more for both Caro and Hannah; still, the Opposite of Hallelujah’s did have some interesting moments.

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