01. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Graphic Novel, Teen Books

The Year of the Beasts by Cecil Castellucci, 192 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/27/2013

I’ve been meaning to read Castellucci for some time now. Since this new one got a lot of buzz, I figured it might be an OK place to start. Now, I think I might be hooked.
This is the story of a girl named Tessa who is, this year, just old enough to go to the town’s carnival without parental supervision. Tessa is still stuck taking her younger sister, Lulu, along with her and her friends. Tessa isn’t happy about it, but it’s better than having their parents along. There’s a boy, you see, and Tessa hopes to find an excuse for them to wind up alone and subsequently in a relationship. The group goes to the freak show and circumstances conspire to connect Lulu with Tessa’s crush. Tessa is naturally disappointed, maybe even jealous, but she loves her sister and acknowledges the happiness that the new relationship brings to the pair. The sisters now run in the same circle of friends, but tragedy strikes and Tessa begins to see herself as a monster.
The structure of this novel is quite unusual. It alternates between traditional prose and graphic novel format. The timeline is not presented as linear, which initially makes the comic section seem like a fantasy or dream but eventually gives it a potency that makes one’s heart hurt. Sublime and unique, this is a fabulous novel that deserves all the accolades it gets.

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