Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jamie Reviews Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Published: September 2014 - Penguin
How I Got This Book: BEA
Why I Read This Book: I knew it was related to The Bell Jar & Sylvia Plath's work which I LOVE.
Rating: 3 stars..maybe 3.5 stars.

Add it to your to-be-read-list! // Buy it! 

I talked more personally about this book on my blog, The Perpetual Page-Turner, and how The Bell Jar was important to me and about how this kind of took me back to a time in my life that was hard. So if you want to read THAT...go here! But I wanted to actually let you know more what I thought about it here!

What I Liked:

1. The plot -- it was super interesting! A girl whose boyfriend dies and she isn't handling it well at all gets sent to a special school with other kids who have some issues and needs therapy. She gets put into this mysterious English class that is super hard to get into and nobody even KNOWS how you get picked to be in it. They study the works of Sylvia Plath the whole semester and are given a journal they HAVE to write in. And what happens with the journal I'm not telling you! I was VERY much engaged and interested!

2. So quoteable: I can't tell you how many dog-ears I made with just really great lines or passages. The writing was pretty solid and it was very thought-provoking!

3. I thought I had this book's number but NOPE -- I thought I knew the trajectory of the story pretty much and let me tell took me for a bit of a ride. I didn't see something coming and how it was revealed and built-up to was SMART.

4. Some of the characters and their stories were intriguing!  I really liked our main character and some of the friends she made. I LOVED how their group came together and supported each other. I wish we would have seen a LITTLE more of the teacher because she intrigued me a whole lot.

What I Didn't Like:

1. The pacing wasn't consistent -- there were times I was racing to read this and there were other times it just was DRAGGING and DRAGGING. Too much in some places, not enough in others.

2. Way too "this is the message/lesson" -- This was a really thought-provoking novel! However, it felt almost as the author didn't quite trust the reader to glean some of the important things out of it. At the end it was super THIS IS THE MESSAGE and I felt like it was dumping it all out there to make sure I got it. Which I did.

3. Sometimes I felt we were being TOLD stuff rather than shown --  There were certain areas where I think I was supposed to feel more but instead I felt like it was just being told to me and I was like okay so this is happening. Like instead of FEELING changed attitudes and hearts..I was just told that there were changes.

Overall, Belzhar was enjoyable and engaging. It wasn't always consistent but at its highs it was GREAT. It felt unique and I loved how thought-provoking it was. In certain ways I think this could have been better but I did like it.


  1. This book seems to have so much hype and I'm really glad you reviewed it :) I think I need to definitely pick this up. Even if just because BOARDING SCHOOL AHHHH! I will buy anything with dragons or boarding schools in it and I am not ashamed. I'm kind of worried about it being too preachy but we will see... :)


  3. Hmmm, can't decide if this one is worth reading or not. I've never read THE BELL JAR - does that matter? Like Stefanie, I'll probably pick it up just for the boarding school aspect :)

  4. Thanks for the review! I just read a HORRIBLE review of Belzhar, so it's nice to balance that a little with something more positive!

  5. This book seems to be a hit or miss! I really want to give it a try though. It seems different and I love when authors change things up.

    Great review, dear!


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