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young adult book reviews & more

After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away by Joyce Carol Oates

After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew AwayJenna Abbott was just a normal girl living a normal life, until the wreck happened. Nothing was the same after the wreck as before it—Jenna’s friends, her home, even her own self. She has been irrevocably changed, whether she likes it, or wants to admit it, or not. She’s really only a shell of the girl she once was, clinging desperately to distant memories of happiness even though she’s on the verge of completely losing it. She can’t trust anyone, can’t let herself trust anyone, even her own family. And then Jenna meets Crow, who’s got secrets of his own. Jenna finds that she can open herself up to him, but will this put her on the path of redemption and self forgiveness, or will she continues down the ugly road of self-destruction? In this emotional and moving story, Oates explores the trail of damage that death causes and the fragile strength required to rise about it.

Most of this story can be summed up with its lengthy title, After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away, because that is, in essence, what Jenna struggles with doing and eventually accomplishes. I really appreciated Oates’ sometimes simplistic writing style because it so effectively conveyed Jenna’s thoughts, emotions, and delusions. It’s from this style of writing that I was able to truly grasp how damaged Jenna was by the wreck, and it caused my heart to go out to her. There is something so fragile and delicate about Jenna’s character that makes the reader want to protect and take care of her, but at the same time, Jenna’s nature does not permit this type of babysitting. I loved how complex Jenna was and how she struggled to distinguish between dream and reality, because I feel this is an issue many of us also struggle with, although not necessarily on so desperate a scale as Jenna. After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away is an emotional journey and moving tale about death, forgiveness, and everlasting friendship.

This novel is one of those that you want to take your time reading to fully understand. It ranks up with other novels on the same topic such as Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Freeze Frame by Heidi Ayarbe, and Saving Zoë by Alyson Noël.

Rating: 4.5

Review copy from personal collection

11 munch(es) :

Leigh said...

I always enjoy Joyce Carol Oates but I haven't dipped into her YA stuff yet. I'm glad to hear it's just as amazing as her adult titles.

Shalonda said...

Funny that you review this today! This morning I was in a bookstore and was drawn to this book because of its extra long title. I'm heading back tomorrow, so maybe I'll purchase it.

Readingjunky said...

I read this some time ago and really liked it. I can't seem to get my students to take it off the shelf, though. Maybe I'll send them your way so they can hear what someone else has to say about it.

Amee said...

I have one of her adult books but haven't read it yet. I love the title on this one. If I end up liking the book of hers I have, I might just have to pick this one up!

Lenore said...

Joyce Carol Oates is one of my favorite authors and she's so prolific!

eclecticobsessions said...

Hmmm, I've never read Joyce Carol Oates before, but it sounds like I might have to. The title is very intriguing.

Ashley said...

This has got to be the longest title I've ever seen! :P Sounds good though!

Lisa Schroeder said...

I'm so glad you reviewed this book - I hadn't heard of it and it sounds really good! :)

Anonymous said...

I found this book amazing. I finished it in one day because I couldn't put it down. I have recomended this book to all of my friends.

Anonymous said...

this book was alright. it was split up into chapters that were sometimes as little as one page, that made it confusing to me. i didnt find this the best book but the ending is good.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the protaginist and the antaginist??

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