Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Review of 'A Map of the Known World' by Lisa Ann Sandell

"Cora Bradley dreams of escape.  Ever since her reckless older brother, Nate, died in a car crash, Cora has felt trapped in her small town.  Her parents are increasingly over-protective, and ever her best friend, Rachel, has begun to slip away.

So Cora seeks solace in art, drawing elaborate maps and envisioning herself in exotic locales.  The Cora's maps lead her somewhere unexpected: to Damian, the handsome, brooding boy who was in the car with Nate the night he died.  Cora forms a tentative bond with Damian-- himself an artist-- who reveals to her the truth about who her brother really was.  As Cora begins to piece together the fragments of her life, she finds herself falling for Damian.  But will she have to courage to follow the chart of her heart?

Critically beloved author Lisa Ann Sandell weaves a gripping tale of one girl's journey through the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love.  Poignant and lyrical, Cora's story is a reminder that sometimes, the most thrilling world can be found within ourselves."

I discovered upon reading the first few chapter that I've already read this!  But it wasn't finished recently, so I read it again.  I also discovered that this was the book that I kept confusing with Laurie Halse Anderson's 'Speak.'  They are similar in many ways, so maybe you'll see why I might have thought this.

I really liked the overall story.  I've found books like this to be interesting because it chronicles a family that has suffered a major loss and shows how they end up coping with the situation.  Cora's family is interesting to read about because, while their reaction makes sense, it also seems to be the opposite of how someone might act (withdrawn, etc.)

The character had well-developed back stories and these were inserted at good points in the book.

Something I didn't appreciate was the language.  Many times, I couldn't help but notice how forced the dialogue was.  I always imagined characters whining or being absolutely clich√© during these parts because of how they said something or how they reacted to the situation, which leads me to my next point.

One other thing that I couldn't ignore was how quickly everyone reacted to everything.  Like, when Cora told her parents about going to London next summer, they flipped out like she had just told them that she was pregnant or into hard drugs (did you catch that 'Juno' reference?).  They completely went off the deep end..  Frankly, it was a little ridiculous.

While the story itself was really good, the dialogue and reactions were too much to ignore and they lessened my appreciation for the book slightly.

I give 'A Map of the Known World':
Thanks for reading!



  1. Hi, Jude,
    I'm new to visiting you and am a new follower. I love the design of your blog...great drama!
    So nice to see an honest evaluation of a book like you gave. I used to feel I needed to finish any book I started. Now, since I review so many, I'll only give them 50-60 pages before I commit to reading them through. I like that you enjoyed the book but still gave thought to what other readers might find bumpy in the writing!
    Come see me sometime! I'd love to know what you think of my blog, too.


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