Release Date: July 23, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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I have three months left to call Katie my older sister. Then the gap will close and I will pass her. I will get older. But Katie will always be fifteen, eleven months and twenty-one days old.
Hannah's world is in pieces and she doesn't need the school counsellor to tell her she has deep-seated psychological issues. With a seriously depressed mum, an injured dad and a dead sister, who wouldn't have problems?
Hannah should feel terrible but for the first time in ages, she feels a glimmer of hope and isn't afraid anymore. Is it because the elusive Josh is taking an interest in her? Or does it run deeper than that?
In a family torn apart by grief and guilt, one girl's struggle to come to terms with years of torment shows just how long old wounds can take to heal.
Keep a close eye on Claire Zorn, guys, this author is going places. The Protected is my first novel by Claire Zorn, and it blew me away. This story centers around fifteen year old Hannah, whose sister passed away a year ago and is still trying to pick herself and her family up from the wreckage.
Hannah’s life has never been easy. Before the accident, she was bullied, treated like nothing different to a toy, just prodded and mocked at. After the accident, the bullying stopped, but Hannah became sisterless, her father was severely injured and her once professional homemaker mother got depressed and hasn’t left the house since her sister’s funeral. Honestly, I don’t know how Hannah does it, how she managed to endure it all. I absolutely adored her narration, it’s full of wit and raw emotion, and totally sucked me into her head.
Friendship is such a strong element in Claire Zorn’s novel. Josh was the new boy at school and he was so accepting and positive towards Hannah. I don’t really see him as a love interest even though he sort of becomes one throughout the novel but his role as a best friend is of utmost importance. I loved how Hannah found hope and saw Josh as a way to rebuild and reorganise her life, Hannah and Josh’s friendship was palpable and well developed, and their conversations always left a smile on my face.
The Protected isn’t just told in the present. Hannah shows us her past before the accident during the time she was bullied and how she lost her only friend, Charlotte, till the time after her accident when suddenly all the bullies had backed off. I found it truly heart-breaking but interesting to see how one small thing could lead to so much destruction. We also get to see glimpses of Katie and Hannah’s sisterly relationship. Not all sister relationships are perfect, and I liked how their relationship was portrayed–their grudges and occasional bitterness towards each other–and soon we begin to understand Hannah’s guilt and grief ourselves.
Furthermore, I loved the writing and how beautiful and raw it was. I was completely immersed into Hannah’s world, I could feel every emotion, and understand every thought.
Can I talk about the setting for a moment? I loved it. I loved the heat and the setting by the mountains. Something about it just made everything feel more real.
I think Claire Zorn has found a place on my favourite Aussie YA list, the realistic characters and beautiful relationships have all dug under my skin. There’s no doubt that I will be picking up The Sky So Heavy sometime soon.
~Thank you UQP Australia for sending me this copy!~
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