Sunday, 7 April 2013

Review: Saving Zoe by Alyson Noel

Saving Zoë
by Alyson Noel
Pages: 230
Format: Finished Copy
Source: Borrowed
Release Date: September 4, 2007
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Stars: 4.5 out of 5
It's been one year since the brutal murder of her older sister, Zoe, and fifteen year old Echo is still reeling from the aftermath. Her parents are numb, her friends are moving on, and the awkward start to her freshman year proves she'll never live up to her sister's memory. Until Zoe's former boyfriend Marc shows up with Zoe's diary.

At first Echo's not interested,doubting there's anything in there she doesn't already know. But when curiosity prevails, she starts reading, becoming so immersed in her sister's secret world, their lives begin to blur, forcing Echo to uncover the truth behind Zoe's life so that she can start to rebuild her own.

Prepare to laugh your heart out and cry your eyes out in this highly addictive tale as Alyson Noel tackles the complicated relationship between two sisters and shows how the bond can endur elong after one of them is gone.

Saving Zoe is a truly heartbreaking, luminous book! I started this book late last night and stayed up until I was completely wiped out, and then woke up this morning and finished it. A light page-turner, but this book certainly has a layer of sadness and hollowness that Noel portrayed really well.  Her writing made the book glow, and it was a definite improvement over Faking 19. This book made a beautiful impact on me and I don't think I'll be forgetting it any time soon.

In this book the main character Echo (isn't that name, just, perfect?) is 15 years old and faced with the ever-present weight upon her shoulders that her older sister, Zoe, was murdered the year before. Her mother takes "happy pills" but as Echo says, Despite the external mask she puts on to people who don't know the family well, her mother's eyes are "more vacant than ever". Echo remains silent and seemingly clueless, entering her freshman year in high school tentatively, knowing people are pitying her and thinking of the tragedy that became her family.  Echo's character really shines. At the beginning of the book it was hard to get a sense of what kind of person she was, but towards the middle of the book, her character came out in several ways, most of them being small. I could relate to Echo more than Alex because Echo is only a couple years older than me and she seemed to be going through the basics of high school. Even though I've never been to high school I could relate.

Echo's name is perfect for her character. Whereas Zoe was the sister who was determined, bold, fearless, and as Echo says "the one that people will miss", Echo was merely a vague echo of her sister's defined personality. Her sister's personality was like a scream--loud and clear--and hers could get strong but grew faint and faded after some time. I don't know if Noel meant for the reader to interpret it that way, but that was definitely the way that I analyzed it. Although Echo struggles to find who she is, because most of the book is spent with her trying to be the person who her sister was, her character was unique and slightly tragic.

A great portion of this book is Zoe's diary, and I usually loathe books with diary entries mixed in with regular narration, just because it provides unnecessary confusion and also I find it hard to stay focused on both ends of the story. But for this book it worked really well. The combination of Zoe's bright and (figuratively) loud entries and Echo's quiet and reserved narration really made for an awesome combination.

All in all this book was just spectacular! At times the storyline slowed down and then picked up so fast that I hard a hard time keeping track of some things, but I only minded it a little because the book just positively astounded me. If you're looking for a chic-lit that has at least some inner layer of intelligence and won't lower your IQ score, then this is definitely the book for you.

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