By: Melanie | August 30, 2014 | (18) Comments

Review: The Protected by Claire ZornThe Protected by Claire Zorn
Publisher: UQP
Release Date: July 23, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, YA
Pages: 264
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!~

4 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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18 Responses to Review: The Protected by Claire Zorn

  1. Kelly says:

    I loved this one too Mel, and she’s incredible isn’t she. She creates these deep and realistic characters that make you feel as though you’re living through the storyline along with them. You said it perfectly, her writing is raw and gritty, it doesn’t hold back and actually treats YA readers to these thought provoking and really intelligent reads.

    I frigging LOVED The Sky So Heavy. It was actually the first paperback review copy I’d ever received and inhaled it from cover to cover. I loved the social message it promoted and the inspiration behind it too. Incredible review <3
    Kelly recently posted…The Diva Weekender #005My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Aw thanks, Kels <33 I really need to read The Sky So Heavy because the praise for it is just as high as this one! Thanks for stopping by, lovely 🙂

  2. I’ve never heard about this author, Mel. But WOW, I am amazed that this book was more about the struggles of a teenager and her relationship with the family instead of being the generic YA contemporary romance.

    What an impressive heroine for being able to pick herself up despite the ordeal that she had to go through. And also glad that the sort of romance this book has started from friendship and just naturally developed as the story advanced.

    Awesome that this author knows that we, readers, are not morons. Brilliant review, Mel! I’ll definitely check this one out.

    • Melanie says:

      I’m glad! Yes, the friendship was truly nice and it sorta just develops into a romance at the very end but they don’t actually kiss or anything

  3. Wow, now I must read something by this author! I keep reading spectacular reviews for this one! Claire Zorn is definitely someone I must watched out for in my library/bookstore. I like the fact that this sounds like a friendship-focused novel. Of course, I’m partial to a bit of romance, too, but I always feel like romance is usually the main focus in these sorts of novels, instead of friendship, so that sounds like a good change. Also the fact that the author is Australian does make me want to read this just one that little bit more. 😉 Wonderful review.
    Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer recently posted…Reader/Writer Confessions: Amateur Mistakes I Made In My First NovelMy Profile

  4. Lucy says:

    This sounds amazing! Always nice to see a contemporary that doesn’t completely focus on romance and more on friendship. Haven’t heard of this author before either so will definitely be checking her out. Excellent review xx
    Lucy recently posted…My Thoughts On: The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting by Holly BourneMy Profile

  5. Valerie says:

    I have a feeling that this will definitely bring me to tears when I read it. I haven’t read that many books with such deep themes, but I think I’m going to give this one a try! Thanks for the review Melanie!
    Valerie recently posted…Nessie Reviews ☆ A Series of Unfortunate EventsMy Profile

  6. Hmmm, seems like I should keep an eye out for this author! 🙂
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #57 & Weekly RecapMy Profile

  7. Zoe N. says:

    Do you know by any chance if this will release / is already released in the US? Because DARN! I’m definitely intrigued! This sounds like such a powerful and emotional book!

    I am so glad to see that friendship is such a strong focus here. Being that the friendship is between a girl and a boy, it could have been so easy to go into romance territory, and I am so thankful that Claire didn’t take that route and managed to focus on something that doesn’t get nearly enough spotlight as it should.

    Thanks for sharing Mel, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3 Definitely want to check this out ASAP! 🙂
    Zoe N. recently posted…The Islands at the End of the WorldMy Profile

  8. Siiri says:

    I love friends to lovers romances (cough: Fangirl (which I just read); cough) and I love stories about great friendships so yay that this aspect suited you even if you weren’t crazy over the love stroy. Eeep! And gorgeous writing? Yes, please 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed this story so much, Mel!
    Siiri recently posted…Review: Come Back to Me by Mila GrayMy Profile

  9. Awww, Melanie, this really does sound heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time judging from your review. I don’t even want to imagine what it feels like to have your life falling apart like that. I think it would break my spirit a little, for sure!

    And I’m glad to see that there’s a strong emphasis on friendship in this one. I like it when a bond between two people that isn’t romantic love makes each other stronger. I’ll read this one just for that alone!
    Faye D’Social Potato recently posted…ARC Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas – “A Bit of Rants, a Bit of Fangirling~”My Profile

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