The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab.
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 2012
List Price: $16.99
Review: Mischief, romance, and suspense describe this remarkable book, The Opposite of Hallelujah. In this Anna Jarzab gem, Carolina known as Caro Mitchell, is a quiet, spoiled girl. She considers herself an only child, and she likes it that way. After all, her much-older sister, Hannah, left home eight years ago and barely remembers her. Caro is mostly trying to understand her sister, and she will have to put unusual puzzle pieces together to find out what's disturbing Hannah.
In the beginning of this novel, Caro is a very self-centered girl living life as an only child. Subsequently, Caro's parents drop the bombshell that their older daughter, Hannah, is coming back to live with them. Hannah had left the family for eight years to become a nun. When she returns, she looks very emaciated, and this puzzles Caro. At this point, Caro feels as if a trespasser is destroying her family. Unable to understand her sister, Caro resorts to telling lies, and when those lies alienate her from her friends and family, Caro seeks help from an unknown source. Soon, Caro discovers a clue that could save Hannah from the dark secret that possesses her, and she begins to see her sister in a whole new light. Unfortunately, Hannah's mysterious secret is so deep and dark that it is ruining her health and life. Caro and her closest friends vow to do everything in their power to help Hannah and make her happy again. The question is: Will the powerful three friends be able to save Hannah? More importantly, will she ever lead a normal life?
In my opinion, Anna Jarzab's The Opposite of Hallelujah was an enjoyable mix of love, hurt, and anticipation that will leave readers attached to this novel! The setting in this story wasn't very descriptive. The characters, on the other hand, did keep me reading! The characters in this book were very round and well developed. For example, Erin, the protagonist's closest friend, was described as follows: "Erin is the reason why the word cute was invented. She personified it with her big blue eyes, pert nose, and diminutive height." Caro, in my opinion is also a very round character described as curious and intelligent. I can actually think of some of my close friends that could actually relate to these characters! Personally, this book would appeal to an older audience, probably ages 15-17 for alcohol reference, explicit language, and certain "scenes" inappropriate for younger readers. The Opposite of Hallelujah is a book that would probably be preferred by a girl audience, since the protagonist is a girl. TONS of thrills fill this book! For example, this made my heart beat faster: "The caller ID said "Mom." "Hey, Mom, what's up?" "Caro, I don't want to scare you, but we're at the hospital. It's Hannah I came home from work today and found her on the floor in her bedroom." That dialogue and scene was probably the best part where I was asking myself, "Would Hannah, Caro's sister, be okay? What's wrong with her?" This book never moved slowly it's truly a page-turner! The theme for this book, in my opinion, is "Never judge a book by its cover." I would give this book a rewarding five stars for its suspenseful romance and mischief, descriptive characters, intriguing plot, and the revelation of a true bond between sisters.
Review written by Jillian (6th grade student).
We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of The Opposite of Hallelujah for this review.
Have you read The Opposite of Hallelujah? How would you rate it?