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The Opposite of Hallelujah de Anna Jarzab
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The Opposite of Hallelujah (edició 2012)

de Anna Jarzab

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8310251,305 (4.17)3
For eight of her sixteen years Carolina Mitchell's older sister Hannah has been a nun in a convent, almost completely out of touch with her family--so when she suddenly abandons her vocation and comes home, nobody knows quite how to handle the situation, or guesses what explosive secrets she is hiding.… (més)
Títol:The Opposite of Hallelujah
Autors:Anna Jarzab
Informació:Delacorte Books for Young Readers (2012), Hardcover, 464 pages
Col·leccions:Llista de desitjos
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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The Opposite of Hallelujah de Anna Jarzab

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She's Got Books on Her Mind

For some reason I've been reading a lot of sister stories. They are slowly becoming a new favorite topic of mine to read about. Although, I've always liked sibling stories reading about sisters is a whole different concept than reading about brothers because let's face it - sisters can be more intense especially psychologically. With brothers the tension is different. It usually results in a fist fight. Sisters can stir up a whole lot of drama that is always exciting to read about.

In The Opposite of Hallelujah our main character Caro doesn't even feel like she has a sister. She is eleven years apart from her sister Hannah and eight years ago her supposed sister went into a convent to become a nun. Who does that? Whenever she and her family visited (about once a year for half an hour) she acted like a perfect stranger with a serene face and nothing to say so no wonder she feels like an only child.

Caro has had it hard in school ever since she told a certain lie about where her sister was. Being nicknamed Caroliar doesn't leave room to make much friends. But now that she is a junior in high school everyone she knew back then either went to another school or forgot about her little white lie. Now she has two great best friends a girl could ever have. Reb, is cool without trying hard, always has her back, and tells it to her straight when she needs it. Erin is "that girl" who always has a guy around her and likes to stir up drama but cares about Caro's well being and well... love life. Everything is pretty much perfect in her life but then her parents announce that Hannah is leaving the convent and coming back home to live with them.
Caro has this way of deflecting her pain. Instead of getting sad, she forces all the pain down and gets angry and combative. She'll snap even when she knows the person she's attacking is just trying to be nice. This could be seen as a bad thing but since she was the POV you could get inside her head and see what she was going through. She's not letting out her emotions freely. She doesn't say what she really wants to say. Her family likes to hide from the truth and not deal with things.

When Hannah comes back home Caro instantly has her defenses up. She is not happy one bit that Hannah has come back into her life. Again she is like a stranger to her and no way in hell will she accept her into the family. But, there is something off about Hannah. Some dark secret she is hiding that gets her interested into this mysterious stranger. It all boils down to the question of exactly why did Hannah leave the convent? What dark secret is she hiding?

In all that tension there was of course romance. Caro falls for Pawel a new transfer student. He's funny, sweet, and honestly cares for Caro. Pawel is able to show her a new way of thinking. He's literally the perfect guy for her and I fell in love with him right away. He surprised me a little in the beginning but other than that he was the sweetest guy to Caro. It's nice when the love interest doesn't have ulterior motives. He's basically the type of guy where it's what you see is what you get.

Caro and Hannah's relationship was a difficult one. Caro needed to deal with her own issues before she could see who Hannah really is. I wish that Caro wasn't so selfish with Hannah because it's really the only thing about her character that bothered me. I loved Hannah and just wanted to give her hug. She was this soft spoken little thing that was clearly reaching out for help and understanding. It took a boy for Caro to understand her sister... Sigh. Despite the feeling that Caro was being selfish with her sister the good and the bad parts of their relationship were the best parts of the book. You could see their relationship changing shape throughout the book and that's what I expected and what I wanted to get out of this book - a great story about sisters discovering what it means to be a sister.

Overall: Towards the end I felt the story could have left a little to the imagination and not let it go on so long. Also, Caro was being a bit selfish with her sister but I could see where she was coming from. Both the romance and the sister relationships and even the little mystery were the great parts of the story. And Father Bob! - I love that guy. We need more understanding adults like him in the world. ( )
  AdrianaGarcia | Jul 10, 2018 |
Told from the perspective of 16-year-old Caro, we hear the story of her 27-year-old sister Hannah who returns home after 8 years in a convent as a nun. Hannah won't eat and sleeps all day, clearly depressed, but Caro doesn't know why and no one will tell her what happened to Hannah before the convent. This is as much Caro's journey as it is Hannah's; Caro really begins to question what it means to be a nun, and what it means to believe in God, even though she isn't sure she does. ( )
  Tahleen | Feb 16, 2014 |
I finished this book a month or so ago, and can't remember much about it. So I guess it was just so-so.
  Suso711 | Sep 5, 2013 |
The Opposite of Hallelujah was a well crafted story that delved into the psyche of a teenager struggling with faith, family, and life. I though Jarzab did a great job of building believable characters and even though Caro got on my nerves a lot, it was because she was responding in a way that would be typical of a teen. She didn't know how to deal with some of the things happening to her and her family, so she was trying to take the easy way out.

I really enjoyed seeing how Caro grew throughout the story. And that is probably the biggest reason why I didn't mind that she got on my nerves. In the beginning she acts like a spoiled brat, but even then there are hints that maybe she could be likeable. By the the time the climax comes around, I really felt for her and could see her realizing that the people around are more than what she sees on the surface.

There is of course a romance angle, and I actually liked Pawal. He's not the over the top romantic lead, or the bad boy, he's just a regular boy. There is no inta-love between them, and their relationship made sense. I especially loved how Jarzab deals with him finding out about Caro's lies. ( )
  AngelaFristoe | Aug 11, 2013 |
Going into The Opposite of Hallelujah, I had mildly high expectations, knowing that my friend Katie of Blook Girl loved it. Still, I wasn't so sure about the subject matter, and just really didn't know that much about it, since I pretty scrupulously avoid reviews of books I plan to read, even from my favorite reviewers. Katie was completely right about this book. The Opposite of Hallelujah gave me so many feels: sadness, awkwardness, hope, and fangirling happiness.

My very favorite thing about The Opposite of Hallelujah, what makes it stand out so incredibly fresh and original to me, is that it centers around a family. Yes, there's romance and school and all of that, but Caro's relationship with her family members comes first, primarily that with her much older sister Hannah. Caro scarcely knew Hannah (eleven years her senior) when she went away to live in a convent when Caro was just eight years old. Caro didn't know how to deal with this, what it all meant, so she simplified things and told people her sister was dead. This came out, as such things tend to, earning Caro the nickname "Caroliar," which also gave Caro another grudge to hold against her sister, added to the sense of abandonment she already felt.

Fast forward a few years to the summer before Caro's junior year of high school. News comes to the Mitchell family that Hannah is coming home from the convent. Caro's parents, who have missed their daughter and been deeply hurt that she left them, even for a vocation, are thrilled to have her back. Caro, on the other hand, wishes Hannah, and the whole big, confusing, mess of resulting emotions had never come back.

That sounds mean, but Caro doesn't know this woman who appears off the train. Caro feels like an only child, and she doesn't appreciate her parents' orders that she behave a certain way to Hannah. Honestly, Caro does not feel that Hannah deserves to be so easily accepted back into the family, since she abandoned them so utterly. Immediately, Caro falls back into her old pattern, lying to people at school about her sister. She does not even tell her best friends or boyfriend that Hannah's back from the convent. Later, when it's outed that Hannah is back, she lies about where Hannah was.

When I first started reading, I was momentarily put off by the writing (not personally my favorite style) and the formatting (obnoxiously large font to make the book seem longer than it is), but I soon stopped noticing or caring about any of that, because Caro's character is so powerful. She has such a strong, authentic teen voice. All of the stupid things she does make a messed up sort of sense, because you're seeing through her eyes and you know how her mind works. Besides, aside from the lying, she's such a funny, clever, strong-spirited girl that you just root for her so hard to work through her issues.

The Mitchell family feels so much like a real family: they have awkward moments, they fight, they love. It's just so beautiful, and so rarely depicted in young adult fiction, because so much of it needs the heroine to be accomplishing some gargantuan feat, not living through daily life. Her parents love both of them so much. They make mistakes, of course, because that's what parents do, but they're always there to help or to punish as needed. Jarzab includes some very typical parent-child fights that totally had me flashing back to my teen years.

At the beginning of the book, Caro has a boyfriend (or, at least, she thinks that's what he is), Derek, who has been gone at camp. When he gets back, he doesn't call, and she does what any self-respecting girl would do: freaks out and calls her best friends for advice. Reb and Erin agree: this is bad news, and that she should probably dump him before he dumps her. She decides to do that, and goes to his house, where he beats her to the draw. I share this to illustrate how high school and realistically awkward it is. There are so many scenes that struck a perfect chord.

Anyway, stupid Derek dumping her cleared the way for a wonderful, adorable guy. Pawel is, stereotypically, the new guy at school. Yes, I rolled my eyes at this, but he's so damn adorable, that I got over that really quickly. For one thing, he's Polish and has an impossible to pronounce name (Caro's friends just call him Polish), and, for another, he is one of the most sweet, caring guys I've encountered in YA. He and Caro have an immediate connection, but don't declare it right off the bat. You guys, I totally said awwwww out loud so many times reading about them.

Another well-drawn character is that of Pastor Bob. Religion is, obviously, a huge theme in this book, what with Hannah's return from a convent and everything. I can be a bit touchy about this subject, but it was handled marvelously here. Pastor Bob does not force anything on anyone, and he's a genuinely caring, helpful guy. The discussions of religion are more theological than specifically Christian in nature. He and Caro develop a real friendship that I found very touching.

This review is approaching epic proportions, so I'll wrap things up. In short, if you are a reader who bemoans the lack of real family interaction in YA, you should probably get your hands on it right now. Anna Jarzab has just joined my list of authors whose books I must stalk. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
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For eight of her sixteen years Carolina Mitchell's older sister Hannah has been a nun in a convent, almost completely out of touch with her family--so when she suddenly abandons her vocation and comes home, nobody knows quite how to handle the situation, or guesses what explosive secrets she is hiding.

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