Review: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Posted October 10, 2014 by valeranne in Reviews / 4 Comments

Review: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer


by Meg Wolitzer
Published on September 30th, 2014
by Penguin
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be  at home in New Jersey with her sweet British  boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching  old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing  him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.

4.5 Stars

I can’t write this review like I normally would, with character descriptions, favorite aspects, etc. because this book is unlike the books I normally read. For me, this book wasn’t about the characters or the setting; it was about the overall message of the story. 

This is a story of grief told through the development of a handful of characters that find themselves in Mrs. Quenell’s class, Special Topics in English. Grief consumed these students’ lives and they ended up completely shutting down from it. Meg took on quite the topic and she masterfully explored it in several different ways throughout the book. We get to witness the grief that these students drown in and each of their struggles to resurface. It can be so easy to live in a constant state of wishing, wishing you could relive that day, care more, love fuller, but Meg explores all of the aspects of going back, both good and bad. She makes the reader confront the realities of living in the past and trying to move on in the future. If we are so stuck in the past (sometimes literally) we miss out on the thing we wanted the most.

Man, I’m tearing up all over again. I’m trying to eloquently put into words how much this book touched my heart but I don’t think I’m doing a very good job.

This book is real and gritty and hard, it’ll break your heart but there’s a purpose; this book changes you. I view grief and grieving different now since finishing this book and that is a beautiful thing. I can’t.. I can’t put into words what this book means to me.

I know, I know. What is this book actually about? I mean, the description/this review doesn’t actually explain anything about the book but I think that’s how it should be. This book should be entered into wholeheartedly and a tad unawares.

WARNING: I spent the last fourth of this book just crying my eyes out.

I don’t even think you can call this a review but I put it the best I could, this book is amazing.

Oh, I wish that I could have been in the room when Meg Wolitzer told her editor exactly what this book was going to be about.

About Meg Wolitzer

Meg Wolitzer is the author of The Ten-Year Nap and seven previous novels, including The Position and The Wife . Her short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize.

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4 responses to “Review: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

    • haha. That is completely fair! I just reread it with dry eyes and a bit of time away from my emotions and I really believe that it’s intimidating to read after my review. Really great read though.

  1. Liza

    It sounds amazing, and I’m not one to shy away from a book because it can make me cry! I’m glad you loved it 🙂 The cover is a work of art, so different and interesting.

    • It is amazing! I’m trying not to shy away from books that make me cry, it felt good to cry, if that makes sense. The cover. That cover. I love it. It is the perfect cover and I agree, super unlike any other covers.

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