Sunday, January 29, 2012

Review ~ "Queens of All the Earth" by Hannah Sternberg

The Queens of All the EarthThe Queens of All the Earth by Hannah Sternberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley
Genre: YA Fiction

Description from Goodreads: As her freshman classmates move into dorms at Cornell University, Olivia Somerset suffers a nervous breakdown. When months of coaxing and analyzing fail to rouse Olivia from her stupor, big sister Miranda decides the sisters should fly off to Barcelona for some "vacation therapy." 

When a mistake at their Barcelona hostel leaves the Somersets in a large co-ed dorm room, Olivia and Miranda are saved by kindly Mr. Brown and his son Greg, who happily volunteer to surrender their private room. But while Olivia feels an instant connection with brooding Greg Brown, Miranda sides with fellow guest and cocky American travel writer Lenny: 

The Browns are just plain weird, and must be avoided at all costs. 

In the midst of urbane Peruvian priests-in-training and Scottish soccer fans, from the shops of La Rambla to the waters of the Mediterranean to the soaring heights of Montjuic, Miranda works to protect her still-fragile sister while Olivia struggles to understand her burgeoning adulthood, her feelings for Greg, and the fear that makes the next step in her life so impossible to take. 

Inspired by E. M. Forster's classic novel A Room with a View, debut author Hannah Sternberg's Queens of All the Earth is a poetic journey of young love and self-awakening set against the beauty of Catalonia. Teenagers and adults alike will be riveted and moved by this coming-of-age novel about the conflicting hearts and minds of two very different sisters

My thoughts: Interesting idea that didn't work well for me. The book seemed to go nowhere. At times confusing.  I found myself skimming to get on to an important part of the story.  (I rarely skim, I like to read every word.)

Olivia has a break down one morning. She enters a catatonic state instead of heading for the dorm.  Her family is concerned, but keep her home in that state until she begins to slowly recover.  School is temporarily put aside, they attribute it to her not able to give up her childhood and move on.

Her concerned older sister thinks to take her on a trip to Spain. Part of the reasoning is to separate her from childhood memories to improve her mental stability.

The descriptions of the beautiful architecture and nature are wonderful. If only the story were about Spanish site seeing it may have worked better for me.

If you love a story about finding yourself, this may be the story for you. F bombs are dropped in every once in a while.

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