Marthe Jocelyn – Would You?

I am currently taking a course on library services for young adults in which I have been asked to review 10 books, so I have decided to post my reviews here too. This is my sixth review. (You can read other book reviews that I have done here if you really want to.) This book will probably appeal to teens around 15 and up. Themes include sisters, families, death, and boyfriends. The genre is contemporary (Canadian) fiction.

This book mainly takes place over the span of about two weeks. Natalie is a normal teenager who hangs out with her friends and steals her older sister, Claire’s, clothes. Claire has just graduated from high school and is set to start college in the fall. One evening, Claire goes out with her boyfriend (with the intent to break up with him), and she gets hit by a car. The story continues on from there about how Natalie deals with Claire’s accident.

Review (includes spoilers)
I was very tempted to stop reading this book shortly after I started it. It is clear that the author is a talented writer — the book is quite well written — but I just did not like the topic that she chose to write about. The older sister, Claire, is in a coma after her accident and the reader is subjected to Natalie’s tormented thoughts about the situation. When, after the doctors have done more testing, it has been determined that Claire is brain dead, Natalie is left with a person-sized hole in her heart. Reading about this kind of pain was too upsetting — at least for me — to enjoy it. I am not sure who would enjoy it. I would think that a person who lived through such a tragedy would not want to relive it by reading about another person’s pain in a book. I suppose it would be an informative book to read if you had a friend who was dealing with the loss of a sibling, but I think it is really just too much tragedy and not enough “other stuff” to water down the raw emotions and make it an enjoyable read. Then again, maybe some people like to stir up raw emotions. It would certainly be a cathartic read if someone wanted give herself a reason to cry!

Overall, I would say that I cannot recommend this book to a general audience. There would have to be a very good reason for me to suggest this book to someone; for example, if the person was in a play about death and was looking for insight. Otherwise, I think teenagers have more than enough angst of their own to deal with without giving them extra things to worry about!