Thursday, April 9, 2015

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank
Source: Library
Pages: 272
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Release Date: August 5th 2014
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Borrow

SummaryThis novel-in-verse—at once literary and emotionally gripping—follows the unfolding friendship between two very different teenage girls who share a hospital room and an illness.

Chess, the narrator, is sick, but with what exactly, she isn’t sure. And to make matters worse, she must share a hospital room with Shannon, her polar opposite. Where Chess is polite, Shannon is rude. Where Chess tolerates pain silently, Shannon screams bloody murder. Where Chess seems to be getting slowly better, Shannon seems to be getting worse. How these teenagers become friends, helping each other come to terms with their illness, makes for a dramatic and deeply moving read.

Review: After reading Elevated, I knew that I liked novels in verse. Seeing the synopsis for this book, along with the artful cover and unusual title placement (not to mention its cleverness and truthfulness), I also knew that this was a book that I had to pick up. 

This is definitely a book with peculiar formatting. Before the book begins, there is a "HOW TO READ THIS BOOK" page. That definitely intrigued me because the author explains that there is curtain on the pages to represent the curtain in the book. You see, the entire story takes place in a hospital room (with occasional flashbacks to events that took place outside the hospital) where Chess shares a room with a sad old lady and an aggressive girl. That girl is Shannon, who Chess ends up befriending as they talk through open and closed curtains. And I thought it was really cool how the line appeared when the curtains were drawn and then disappeared when open. It was definitely one of the most creative and visually appealing ways to read a book. 

There was a bit of mystery throughout the book because at first, it was unknown what Chess was ill with. Then, Shannon seemed to know what Chess had because she said that she had the same thing, so it was obvious to her. But then, I, as a reader, didn't really know what it was that Shannon had either. And then later, nobody in the story had any idea what had happened between Chess and David, the boy that she like. Well, obviously Chess knew, but for a better portion of the book, she wasn't telling. I felt that this worked really well for the plot because it really kept the book moving along, leading up to revelations and newfound knowledge.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters Chess and Shannon. They were extremely refreshing and genuine. Chess was the more subdued and calm character... at first. She rarely got mad, but when she did, oh boy. Shannon, however, was a different story. She was aggressive, rude, and confrontational. But she was honest, with an awesome fondness of the word, "yo." I found that both characters were very funny, kind, and strong despite everything that was happening. Plus, I thought it was really funny when they started shouting, because the words just popped out at me in all caps, and I just sat there reading, imagining the scene of outburst unraveling.

The topic of this book is a serious one. I actually hadn't heard much about this particular disease before, but after reading this, I know how severe and life changing it is. Because I don't know much, I can't really relate to it, but the authenticity of the characters' voices and thoughts could make me feel with them. 

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling is one of the most unique books that I have ever read. The way it was written was beautiful, and I loved the characters. It's a quick read, but by no means is it a light read. The heavy topics, funny moments, and genuine characters make this book shine. The ending poem was beautiful, making the ending of this book so bittersweet. This is a book that I'm very glad to have opened.

Really enjoyed

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