Friday, November 28, 2014
The Different Girl Review
Book talk: Veronika, Caroline, Isobel, and Eleanor have lived on a deserted island for as long as they can remember. The four girls do everything together and look identical except for their hair color. Irene and Robbert tell them that their parents all died in a plane crash and do their best to take care of them and provide them with an education. Despite their tragic circumstances they live a relatively happy and normal life. Or at least that's what they always believed. Then one day a very different girl appears on the island who makes them question everything.
Rave: I know the language will turn a lot of people off but I absolutely love books that are written in a stylized way or in dialect. The story is narrated by Veronika and her inability to understand figures of speech and use metaphor is part of what is so intriguing about her character and what makes the narrative so unique. Her limited knowledge and belief that she is normal creates a delicious tension as little hints are dropped which left me constantly guessing and trying to extrapolate to figure out what was going on. It's clear from the beginning that something is off both with the world at large and these girls particularly but exactly what is never entirely revealed--even at the end. It's wonderfully atmospheric and combine that with the science fiction angle and it reminded me of The Twilight Zone. It makes perfect sense that Veronika talks the way she does and even though it does feel stiff and strange it is hauntingly poetic at times. What starts as a quiet, introspective novel turns into a tense thriller as the novel approaches its climax and the stakes are raised. This is not your average YA dystopian thriller. It is something quiet different and wonderfully refreshing.
Every book its reader: Fans of psychological science fiction like the Twilight Zone will love this story. The difficult language will draw some in and turn others off. Read the first chapter to get an idea of whether or not you'll like it or see the quotes below for a taste. Content wise I'd say it's fine for 5th grade but the writing style makes it more likely to be enjoyed by teens.
“I hope what I’m telling is what really happened, because if it isn’t--if I’ve forgotten things or lost them--then I’ve lost part of myself. I’m not sure how old I am, mainly because there are so many different ways to tell time--one way with clocks and watches and sunsets, or other ways with how many times a person laughs, or what they forget, or how they change their minds about what they care about, or why, or whom.”
“But we learned she was listening to how we said things, not what, and to what we didn’t talk about as much as what we did. Which was how we realized that a difference between could and did was a thing all by itself, separate from either one alone, and that we were being taught about things that were invisible.’
“I didn’t like everyone looking at me like I was different--because their looking made me different--"
“Her absence extended in lines of numbers made of smoke, backward in memory and forward in futures never to occur.”
Source: ebook from public library
The Different Girl by Gordon Dahlquist: buy it or check it out today!