Thursday, March 11, 2010

Albatross by Josie Bloss + Contest!

Published February 1, 2010.

Everyone at Tess's new school warns her that Micah is bad news - a heartbreaker. And a girl named Daisy is acting like she owns him. Still, Tess can't ignore her attraction to this brooding, brilliant, friendless emo-guy who can turn on the charm - or heart-shredding scorn - at a moment's notice. Starting over in a new town after her parents' split isn't easy for Tess, and Micah feels like her first real connection. But then their bond suddenly feels like shackles.

Caught in an obsessive triangle of jealousy and codependence, can Tess learn to break away and find herself again?
(book blurb)

Here is what the press release that came with the book had to say about this title:

Despite pop culture's obsession with brooding, supernatural antiheroes like Edward Cullen, one of the most common critiques of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series is the unhealthy relationship between Bella and Edward - that Edward is a bully and Bella is a doormat. Yet teen girls thrive on this unbalanced relationship dynamic. Perhaps this is because they so rarely find an alternative in the literature of today.

As a response to this trend, young adult novelist Josie Bloss penned Albatross (Flux, February). A complete departure from her previous, lighthearted Band Geek books, Albatross is a dark and tense story of codependency and psychological abuse in teen relationships. The distinguishing element is that the ultimate message is one of hope, but not without some truly distressing poor decisions made on the part of the protagonist.

I have never read a release about a book that was so accurate it could have knocked a fly off of a cliff from 3 miles away. This book is everything Twilight needs to be. I read through this one in a day (would have been a sitting had I not had to work), I couldn't get enough of it, probably because I saw a lot of myself in the protagonist. While I didn't come from the same type of family situation save for the divorce (my dad is nowhere near a prick like Tess's is), I was of a similar temperament in high school. I dated guys that weren't good for me, that treated me like crap but I was so desperate for the attention that I took it and asked what I was doing wrong when something completely out of my control happened. It was eerie and at points I was actually nauseous, it hit that close to home.

It's funny how when you see such a prick of a character like Micah from a third person perspective, it really easy to see how much of an asshole he really is. And holy shit is he ever. But standing in Tess's shoes, and I can see myself doing this at her age, you eat it up. You want this unattainable person. Don't you always want what you can't have? He keeps himself distanced from Tess, taunting her, teasing her and leaving her wanting to come back for more. But while the secondary characters (mainly Tess's friends) say that Micah destroys any girls he touches, I think he just has a knack for attracting vulnerable girls. Or they're drawn to him, either way. Because they're so vulnerable (like Tess having to deal with a divorce and a schmuck for a father), and they're vying for attention, what he gives them, they take.

You can clearly see the Bella and Edward dynamic in Tess and Micah and I really hope anyone that reads this book that loved Twilight and loved Bedward's relationship will see how it really is and how destructive it is. It's easier to match symptoms when you have something to match them against. Being in it you may be blind to it but relating with Tess and seeing what she's going through, maybe it'll help some girls escape a destructive relationship that's been romanticized by current YA fiction.

The writing is simple yet poignant. It tells the story in Tess's words and how only she would see it. It hurts to be inside her head when she's struggling with her feelings for Micah. It'll make you want to shout at the book to drop him. You'll be right along with her inner voice telling her to run away and you'll get disgruntled when she caves yet again. The story rips at you and, hopefully, will make you evaluate your relationships a little more thoroughly. Is that guy of yours pushing and pulling at you? Maybe it's time to drop him. The parallels between Tess and her mother are scary but disturbingly true so many times yet so many fall to repeating history on a subconscious level.

The ending is very Lifetime movie but not sickly sweet. It's positive without being sappy and leaves you with a good feeling that everything will work itself out. There isn't a prince that saves Tess's day. Only Tess did that and that just reiterated the overwhelmingly powerful message this book has. No one else can get you out of it except you. You need the strength to do it. You just need to listen to that inner voice of yours.

I absolutely loved this book. If you're looking for an antithesis of Twilight, you will too.

Contest Time!!!

Fill out the form below for your chance to win a copy of Albatross!


Orchid said...

Great review! This sounds like a pretty good book. Even though i've never read Twilight I agree that Bella and Edward's relationship was unhealthy. :)

Sherry @ Flipping Pages for All Ages said...

This sounds great. Great review and thanks for the giveaway! :)

Krista/Tower of Books said...

Great review! You've made me want to read this...I never really liked Bella/Edward.

jessjordan said...

This one looks kick ass. Can't wait to read it!

Bere said...

Wow! Brilliant review! I have never heard about
this book until now, of course. Reading your
review made me want to read this book! I will
definitely be looking out for this one & thank you
so much for the opportunity to win it =)

Jessica Kennedy said...

Is it weird of me to think of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson every time I see this cover? Yes, it is because I've never even read Speak.

Anyway, thanks for the chance to win!

Steph Su said...

Wow, this is probably the best review I've read for this book, both in terms of content and rating. Maybe I should check this book out now!

CallMeKayla said...

Ok, I *have* to read this!! I HATE the "relationship" between Bella and Edward. Was there a relationship? I mean, it was like an infatuation of "you're hot" and "you're a challenge". Anywho, I must read this!

miss cindy :) said...

This sounds like a great book and I loved your review on it! Thanks for the giveaway too :)

Donna said...

I just couldn't keep this one to myself! It's will is too strong! It must be shared!

Jennifer G. said...

Fantastic review. I have to admit that I enjoyed Twilight while still seeing the problems in the relationship. It's a good thing I'm older and found a great guy to marry. :-) I hope teen girls read this and take away the right message.

misskallie2000 said...

WOW, terrific review. I have to add this to my to buy list. Can't wait to read. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the giveaway.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Fantastic review!! I'm so glad I found your blog and the recommendation of this book, it's going straight on my To read list!! Thanks for the contest!!

Audrey; (AyC) said...

This book sounds fantastic, its definitely going on my wishlist. Great review!

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