Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review: Belzhar

Title: Belzhar
Author: Meg Wolitzer
Pages: 264
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Rating: 3 Cows

Goodreads Description:

If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be  at home in New Jersey with her sweet British  boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching  old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing  him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.

Belzhar had the potential to be great, the storyline sounds interesting but it was lacking in more than one area in my opinion.

The thing that bothered me the most about Belzhar is that it seemed incomplete. I felt as if we needed another chapter or perhaps an epilogue. Technically, the fate of all characters is pretty much accounted for, but still, I wanted more. I was very interested in learning more about Sierra's story.There was so much to tell with her story, yet we get virtually nothing.

Another thing that I didn’t like was Jam’s revelation at the end. It changed the way I saw her character and not for the good. I never really thought of her as emotionally unstable. Her behaviors never lined up with how she said she was acting to get sent to the Wooden Barn. However, after finding out the truth about what happened with Reeve,  I felt that Jam was unstable and also a little bit crazy. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m getting older and now struggle to relate to teenagers, I’m not sure.
The characters in the story were pretty flat. I think the problem was that the author makes the story too board. There are too many characters and too many storylines going to really feel a connection to any of them.
The writing in Belzhar was good and the book was mildly entertaining.  I wanted answers for what Belzhar is and how it came to exist but got little to none. In the end, I feel that the story would have been better had the author decided to focus on one main storyline without venturing all over the place.


  1. Aww, I was hoping you would have liked Belzhar more! I don't think I'll ever read this book because the synopsis doesn't really draw me in, and your review pretty much tells me that it's not a "Kayla" book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Yeah, I was hopeful about this book for me too! Thanks for sending it to me though!

  2. Those are some interesting points. I read somewhere that it's loosely based on Sylvia Plath's Bell Jar, so I can imagine how intense it can be.

    Nicely reviewed.


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