Buy Something Wicked
Special: $11.40 CAD (Regular price: $15.00 CAD)
Publisher: Puffin Canada
Reviewer: Melissa on June 24, 2010
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
From the author of the moving debut novel, As She Grows comes the second installment in a series of Canadian YA novels about at risk teens, entitled Something Wicked. Like she did with the first novel in the series, Lesley Anne Cowan has written a powerful book for young adults that draws from high literary art and the day-to-day experiences of the troubled teens she teaches to deliver something with which at risk teens can identify. However, the appeal of this series goes beyond those dealing with these issues to bring compassion and understanding to the plight of young girls, who suffer from depression and cope with substance abuse and promiscuity. In short, you won’t regret picking up this novel.
Everyone’s got their breaking point. For 16 year old Melissa Sullivan of SomethingWicked, the current stressor is being dumped by her 28-year-old boyfriend. Other than a few close girlfriends, no one even know she was with him in the first place, so it becomes hard, if not impossible, to tell those, who might be able to support her, like her counselor Eric. Instead, she finds herself spiraling further into the black hole of depression and anger in part because she’s heart broken, but also because of the unresolved issues after her brother’s death four years earlier, the nonexistent parenting of her mom and other changes in her life. Will she be able to get help before it’s too late?
Unlike most other series, the second book written by Lesley Anne Cowan doesn’t just take off where the first one left off. While AsSheGrows is narrated by Snow, a 15-year-old girl, who lives with her crazy alcoholic grandmother and gets pregnant, just like her mom before her, Something Wicked is about another character entirely. Though I have a hard time remembering if Melissa is mentioned in the first novel, you will find a few repeat characters, including Snow and Jasmyn in the second novel. However, you shouldn’t assume that you’ll get additional info about the characters you’ve already become attached to as they really are on the sidelines with only a mention here or there of them. Though I liked reading about Snow in the first book and appreciate seeing her here as well, it was nice to have Melissa’s story all to itself.
One of the things that I really loved about Melissa was how she views the world in terms of her own personal mythology garnered from various texts, including Greek myths, like the “Myth of Sisyphus,” Shakespeare’s MacBeth and Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott.” These texts and Melissa’s identification with them are solidified throughout the novel, especially at the moment of complete crisis. It’s clear that Cowan used them toward the beginning to set the ground work for the climax, and she did so with an expert hand in the ways of poetic metaphor.
Like As She Grows, Something Wicked is a difficult novel to read, but like the first novel, it is definitely worth it. For my part, I really felt like I understood where Melissa was coming from, even though I certainly don’t have the same life story as she does, and most of the time, felt myself taking her side. I think this speaks to the author’s abilities to make even the foreign familiar, so just imagine how much of an impact this novel could be for a depressed teen? Check out this book, and in the mean time, remember that my Something Wicked giveaway for Canadians ends tomorrow at 11:59pm. It’s a great opportunity for Canadian readers to get a great book!
If you don’t win though, you can always buy Something Wicked today!