Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl (18 August − 3 September)

Ugh. This book. I can’t really decide whether I liked it or not, because I’m not entirely clear on what actually happened in the book.

Basically, you’ve got your protagonist, Blue Van Meer, an extremely smart and overly educated 16-year-old who travels around the country with her professor father, never living anywhere for more than a semester at a time as he moves on to bigger and better professorships. For her senior year, her dad gives her a gift − they settle down in Stockton, North Carolina for the whole year. She gets reluctantly adopted into a group of friends by request of the teacher they hang out with, Hannah Schneider, and she proceeds to have a really really weird year culminating in the death of Hannah and Blue’s investigation into it.

I can tell you that with no reservation because Blue tells us on the first page that Hannah dies… but the woman doesn’t actually croak until page 335 out of 514. Lovely. There’s certainly some interesting character development in those three hundred pages, and a lot of really good clues that build up for when we get to the mystery part, but oh. my. god. I really was just waiting for Hannah to die the entire time.

The story really drags up to page 335, and then all of a sudden it’s riveting, and then as soon as Blue figures out the mystery we jump ahead a couple of months and learn about those months through poorly exposited backstory. Sigh.

I’m not upset about having read the book, but I’m not thrilled about it either.

Rating: 5/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2006)

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