The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab

The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab

Release Date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

Caro Mitchell considers herself an only child—and she likes it that way. After all, her much older sister, Hannah, left home eight years ago, and Caro barely remembers her. So when Caro’s parents drop the bombshell news that Hannah is returning to live with them, Caro feels as if an interloper is crashing her family. To her, Hannah’s a total stranger, someone who haunts their home with her meek and withdrawn presence, and who refuses to talk about her life and why she went away. Caro can’t understand why her parents cut her sister so much slack, and why they’re not pushing for answers.

Unable to understand Hannah, Caro resorts to telling lies about her mysterious reappearance. But when those lies alienate Caro’s new boyfriend and put her on the outs with her friends and her parents, she seeks solace from an unexpected source. And when she unearths a clue about Hannah’s past—one that could save Hannah from the dark secret that possesses her—Caro begins to see her sister in a whole new light.

The Opposite of Hallelujah was one book which took me a while to get through. I was really hesitant about reading this one, because it didn't mention that this book had slightly (and when I say slightly, I mean pretty slightly) religious tones to it, but I was glad to find that it didn't dominate the entire book. I tend to stay away from fiction which includes religion, but thankfully, this only had bits and bobs. The good thing was that Caro doesn't really find herself exposed to much of it, and really decides to distance herself from it during most of the novel. The reason why there are certain religious tones to this book comes from the fact that Caro's sister Hannah left home to join a convent and become a nun.

I really both hated and loved our main character Caro. At first she seemed all whiny and screamy and just mad mad mad all the time. She had multiple rages or tantrums and that really made me not like her at first. As the book went on, she kind of started to grow on me. She really knew or felt that Hannah was hiding something, and it's really sweet (in a total confident and just-you-try-and-stop-me way) how she goes on to find it.
Pawel was an interesting character. He's so charming, and somewhat geeky– you can't help but fall in love with him. I mean, sure, you kind of hate him in a couple of bits, but trust me, it's just one of those things in a novel that HAVE to happen.
Now Hannah– wow, what a character. I seriously don't know how one would feel after coming through some serious prayer time (except, you know, Maria from The Sound of Music) to not exactly believing in God. She definitely had her high points and lows, but it was truly interesting to see her struggles throughout this book, especially more towards the end.
The supporting characters in this were great! While I didn't like some of Caro's friends, I really thought her parents were great. I didn't hate them (her mom was borderline, but she was great throughout the novel), and Father Bob was a great minor character to this plot. He really helps Caro understand, and it's really interesting to see this exchange between a pastor and someone who doesn't really have faith in religion.

My only real problem with this book was the fact that it was so lengthy. It was SUPER long, and being around 400 pages, I found myself drifting away time to time. Some are the descriptions are gorgeous... but it at times became too descriptive and I found myself skimming through it. Other than that though, this book wasn't something that I'd expect to end up liking!

The Opposite of Hallelujah was a little hard to get into, but with a little faith (pun intended) you'll end up loving the characters and the story. Despite length issues, I enjoyed reading this book, and now wish I didn't keep putting it off. Anna Jarzab really knows how to write with the thoughts of a teen, and I can't wait to see what else she writes for YA :)

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  1. I don't like books with religious undertones basically at all, mainly because I feel like if a book isn't a religious book, it shouldn't talk about religion, in respect of those people who don't practice a majority religion in a country (like in the US, in my case). I don't know, I just have a very strong opinion about stuff like that.

    However, the characters definitely seem pretty developed to me, even though it took a while for Caro to grow on you! Hannah really seems like a deep character with some decisions she's not exactly proud and open to sharing with the rest of the world.

    Fantastic review! While you enjoyed this one, I don't think I'll be picking it up because of the religious undertones and the sheer length of it.

  2. I'm glad that you enjoyed this book in overall, Rabiah. :) The concept sounds very interesting actually, though I might will be cautious when I read it because of the religious undertone. However, I'm kind of intimidated because of the lengthy pages LOL! x) My attention drifts away very easily sometimes, so just imagine how hard it would be for me to finish this book. :P

    Beautiful review still! You get my very interested to read this book. Maybe someday hehe. <3

  3. Hm, gorgeous name and title, but we're still kind of on the fence about this one... Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. I didn't even know that this book had so many pages! I don't mind that, but it's not good when your mind is wandering off. I'm not a huge fan of religion in books, but I can accept some religious undertones. I love the title. I'm not sure if this book is something for me, but I'm willing to give it a show when I come across it.



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