Monday, August 17, 2015

Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles

Nate, Claire, Dewey, Jack, Stephen, Keith, Dylan, Lacy, Grace, and Ms. Lindsay.  Ten people, one day.  This is the story of ten people who are all connected to Irving High in some way and all want to see themselves as something different and/or wonder if anyone ever sees the real them.   It's a normal day in a suburban town, but it's on this most ordinary day that these ten people show us what it's like to walk in their shoes.  Heartbreak, bullying, family problems, and high school.... that pretty much sums up this book.

This is by far my favorite Jo Knowles book!!  She really got it right this time!  I've read 2 other books by this author and always felt like something was missing from them.  At the same time, something about her writing and the way she draws me in, always makes me want to read more by her.  This book made me so happy I stuck it out.

The setting takes place over the same 24-hour period, but you get to see it from 10 different, semi-connected perspectives.  I loved the idea of showing how on any given ordinary day, teens are going through tough things.  It made me think about what it was like to be in high school and have things happen.  Have your heart broken, have your parents split up, have your same shitty social life, and have it just be another day.  It's like these things happen, and the world does not stop to acknowledge it like you think it should.  The world just keeps on going and you have to too.  That's what I took from this.

My favorite characters were Nate, Claire, and Lacy.  Nate led the book off by breaking his middle finger (something that proved to be a recurring theme in the book).  He lived with his dad, who was an asshole.  There's really no other way to put it, the guy was an asshole to the highest degree.  I felt so bad for Nate.  Claire was in a popular clique, but wondered if there wasn't more to life than talking about the same gossip over and over again.  She wondered if anyone ever saw the true her... or if she even knew who her true self was.  Lacy was a girl who had body issues.  She always lived outside of the popularity bubble, until Grace came and encouraged her to tryout for cheerleading.  She was needed on the squad to lift up the smaller girls, and Grace also had a slight ulterior motive: she wanted to date Lacy's hot jock, basketball captain brother.

What I loved about those 3 characters (and several others) was that they wanted to find out who they really were.  They all believed there was so much more, just didn't know how to go about finding it.

I loved the way the characters were so different, but all connected in multiple little ways.  Some of them were connected by knowing the others, being friends with them, being neighbors, siblings, classmates.  Other times they were connected by having similar experiences and feelings about those experiences.  They were connected by the places they went, and of course, that single crude gesture.

I have a mild love/hate thing going on with the ending.  So many of the characters didn't get a clear ending.  So many things hanging in the balance.  I liked that in a way, but OMG what happens to these people!?!?!!!!  Also, I just wanted it to go on and on.  I could have read full-length books about several of these characters.

OVERALL:  LOVED!!!  I'm so happy I stuck it out with this author because this book hit the nail on the head for me.  I loved it and could not put it down.  I was thinking about these characters and what it all meant every second that I could not read it.  I'm still thinking about what it all means.  Highly recommend!

This Book Contains:

  • The middle finger
  • Family problems
  • Abuse
  • 1988 Ford Mustang- electric blue
  • Cheerleaders
  • Basketball players
  • Suicide
  • GLBT characters
  • Friendship
  • High School
  • References to Death of a Salesman and The Outsiders

My Rating: 4/4

Date Published: 3/10/2015
How I got this book: Library
Publisher: Candlewick Press

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  1. glad you liked this book. I have only read one book by this author and i really enjoyed it. I need to read this one. sounds really good. i love books where all the characters are connected but you only know how by reading the story.

    1. I really like books that do that as well. I hope you like this as much as I did!