Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Map of the Known World by Lisa Sandell

Title: A Map of the Known World
Author: Lisa Sandell
Pages: 272
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: April 15, 2009

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. This is the tale of one girl's journey through the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love.

Cora has already lost her brother. After Nate's death, her life crumbles and falls apart. Her parents are distant and emotionally unstable. They're not the happy family they used to be; their dinners, full of life and sometimes fights in the past, are now overcome with the shrill, horrible, sound of silence. She dreams of getting away, she dreams of exploring her map of the known world. As she goes back to school, stares are pointed her way. She is known as 'the girl who has a dead brother'. But surprisingly, she fells a deep connection with Damien---an artist---who was Nate's best friend and the one who was with him in the car on the night he died. She starts to fall for him...Will she finally move on and open her heart?

A Map of the Known World is a canvas, drawn with lines of raw emotion, shaded with the lesson of love. Sandell introduces a cast of complicated, three-dimensional characters that ultimately, learns to move on with their lives. Cora is a passionate and complex protagonist that just wants to escape in a town that is suffocating her. She uses art to express herself and discovers how her brother was; without the façade of a rebellious kid, on his way to completely ruining his life. She sees that he was a true artist.

Art plays an important role in the novel. Sandell describes everything beautifully and vividly through a flawless lyrical prose. Reading A Map of the Known World is like discovering everything all over again...through different, grief-stricken eyes that have gone through so much. Cora and Damien are the two lights, illuminating the darkness that surrounded Nate's death; so full of hope. Helena is also a great character that guides Cora and eventually becomes a true, loyal friend.

The cover is so distinct. You won't understand what it's there for, at first. But as you uncover more and more about the enigma that is Nate, the significance of it is truly sentimental. It's a representation of the fact that Nate's life was important and his talent held lots of potential. The heart with junk is a representation that he will never be forgotten. It's just like him actually; at first glance, it's just junk, but as you really look inside, you find something completely beautiful; the unknown.

A Map of the Known World is a great book full of wonder, awe, and most importantly, friendship. Lisa Sandell creates benevolently complex characters, crafts a heart-breaking story, and delivers the message that you can learn to live again and open your heart. A+ =)

The Bottom Line: I loved it. It is beautiful. That's all I need to say.

---Report Card---
Originality: 10/10
Ending: 8/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Theme: 10/10
Imagery: 10/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 98/100 (A+)

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Thao November 3, 2009 at 10:14 PM  

I really want to read this book. Love your review hehe.

Jess (The Cozy Reader) November 3, 2009 at 11:35 PM  

I have this book. :) Should read it. :(

Donna Gambale November 4, 2009 at 5:33 AM  

Thanks for such a great review. I can tell how passionate you are for this book! You definitely bumped it from my "maybe" list to TBR.

Unknown November 4, 2009 at 7:50 AM  

Great review. Now I'm really excited to read this.

in which a girl reads November 4, 2009 at 11:21 AM  

Nice review, this makes me want to read it even more :)

Jenn (Books At Midnight) November 5, 2009 at 10:14 AM  

Aww, great review! What really caught my eye was the cover, but you also make this sound awesome. :)

Anonymous,  November 5, 2009 at 11:12 AM  

Reggie, thank you so much for this amazing review. I'm honored.
Very best, Lisa

Jennifer November 6, 2009 at 3:01 AM  

Sounds like a book to add to my wish list! Great review!

I have an award for you:

A Life Bound By Books November 6, 2009 at 7:19 AM  

Great, review! You made this book (that I've been wanting to read for awhile) sound even more amazing.

Thanks again for such a great review...


jocelyn January 6, 2010 at 12:10 PM  

I love this book & your review :) You worded it so nicely, it fits with the book--"A Map of the Known World is a canvas, drawn with lines of raw emotion, shaded with the lesson of love." Love it. Nice job.

Holly January 6, 2010 at 1:54 PM  

It sounds really good, just hope this pushes me to finally get this book off my TBR shelf.

Maria April 1, 2010 at 6:08 AM  

I'm glad you liked it, unfortunately I didn't enjoy it quite as much as you did :)

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