Althea & Oliver: A Novel by Cristina Moracho
Publishing Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Viking Books
Pages: 384 pages
Young Adult Contemporary
The Premise: The story follows Althea Carter and Oliver McKinley, who have been best friends since they were six years old. They have done almost every thing together and basically, the other side of the same coin to each other. Althea has been in love with Oliver for quite some time now and she wants to pursue that further. The only problem is, something happens to Oliver that affects their relationship. He begins falling asleep constantly, and they learn quickly that it is a disease that he has acquired. The story picks up right before the revelation of this illness is depicted and shows how both Althea and Oliver deal with it and what happens to their relationship because of it.
My overall thoughts and review: So, when you read the premise of the book.. it does feel a bit TFiOS-esque, but I can assure you that it definitely is not. Althea and Oliver's relationship is incredibly fascinating from the very beginning. How they are quite dependent of each other but also very independent alone. I love that they are both such fully defined characters that they stand alone wonderfully and work really well without the other as well. I love how the story demonstrates both perspectives really well and it definitely is not your typical YA romance. Moracho pushes the boundaries on the normative YA romance and begins questioning identity, illness and love. The component of the story that I enjoyed the most was the part about Oliver's illness. I was so incredibly fascinated by it and I wanted to learn more. The parts of the story when Oliver was in the hospital was extremely reminiscent of Ned Vizzini's It's Kind of a Funny Story. It was incredibly truthful and raw, which I really appreciated. Overall, I really enjoyed it and I'm glad that it went above and beyond my expectations. My only critique about the book would be that I wish some aspects were developed more. I honestly wanted to know more about Oliver's story, and I found certain aspects not as interesting and the secondary characters, like Minty Fresh and Valerie extremely underdeveloped. If you want something that is refreshing in the scope of YA contemporary novels, this is definitely it. This was Moracho's first novel, so I'm incredibly excited to see what she will come up with next!
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)
Now available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo or Amazon
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Penguin Canada (Viking is an imprint of Penguin Group) for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.