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young adult book reviews & more

A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell

A Map Of The Known WorldSince the death of her older and beloved if reckless brother Nate, Cora has been a little lost. Sure, she can skillfully sketch beautiful maps of foreign places, places she’ll probably never see, but she doesn’t know how to think or act. Her parents don’t seem to notice much anymore unless Cora breaks one of their many strict rules, and even Cora’s best friend Rachel seems distant. It’s all Cora can do just not to get lost within her fried and confusion. The start of high school brings its own trials, but surprisingly, it also brings Cora some solace in the form of art class and Damian, the boy who was Nate’s best friend—the only person who was there when Nate died. Cora finds herself drawn to Damian and his artwork, even if her parents forbid their association because of Damian’s connection to Nate’s death; but Cora can’t stay away, especially after Damian reveals a side of Nate that Cora never knew existed. In this beautiful story lies a truth of loss, love, and finding the strength to move on.

A Map of the Known World was so much better than I ever expected. Sandell’s writing is so beautiful that I could go on praising it for quite a long time. Her words paint vivid pictures in the reader’s mind, her lyrical prose is like flowing music, her writing is art. There is something so captivating about Sandell’s style that brings her stories and characters to life. Sandell successfully captures the awkward transition between middle and high school in a way all teens can relate to, complete with the family and friendship problems, and the inclusion of art and its importance to Nate’s memory is woven in so gracefully. Cora’s and Damian’s characters are so wonderfully constructed, although they did have their awkward moments. There are so many scenes that are so well written and beautiful that they made me cry for these characters that I felt such a connection to. A Map of the Known World is just one of those incredible stories that makes one appreciate the beauty in life.

A Map of the Known World is a novel for artistic types or anyone looking for a moving and hopeful read. Despite its dreary subject of death, this story isn’t depressing at all, and fans of Alyson Noël’s Saving Zoë will enjoy it. I consider A Map of the Known World pretty close to being a masterpiece and a huge step up from the similar Goldengrove by Francine Prose.

Rating: 4.75

Review copies from Amazon Vine and publisher Scholastic

11 munch(es) :

Emily said...

God, I love this cover!

Erika Lynn said...

i can't wait to read this one. it looks so good. side note: did you mail my books yet?

DeSeRt RoSe said...

The cover is gorgeous! I might try to book since it's sounds like a good read !

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GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I can't wait to read this one-especially since you mentioned one of my other faves in your review-Saving Zoe.

Bookgeek said...

Great review. It came into the bookstore I work in today and I was admiring the cover. Now I really, really want it

Lisa Schroeder said...

I really want to read this book. It has a couple similarities to my new YA coming out next year that make me very curious. Plus, it sounds great!

towerofbooks said...

Great review! This sounds like a wonderful novel.

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Sadako said...

Am def. an artistic, dreamy type so I really want to read it.

And I agree with the others--the cover is gorgeous!!

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