Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dreaming of Amelia ~ Jaclyn Moriarty

By now, it should be official. I adore Jaclyn Moriarty. I do. More and more with each book and with Dreaming of Amelia (also known as The Ghosts of Ashbury High in the US)..well, I'm just gonna present you with a proper review (with the fangirling* in control). Ahem.

Amelia and Riley have transferred to Ashbury High for their final year, and the whole school is completely obsessed with them. Glamorous, gifted and totally devoted to one another, they seem to be perfect. But there's more to them than beauty and talent. Riley and Amelia have secrets. And everyone at Ashbury is about to find out that the past casts a very long shadow....

The Story: This is one of those books that surprise at every turn because you really don't know what to expect. For me personally, I've been surprised with every Jaclyn Moriarty book. They break the stereotypes and wash you over with quirky and refreshing surprises. It's obvious that Dreaming of Amelia is about the two new students who capture everyone's attention with there appearance at Ashbury. What isn't obvious is that the story rolls out on a wider scope and embraces past, present all at once. It's remarkable how Jaclyn Moriarty connects all the sub-plots together with the main plot to make it one whole comprehensive story (and at 578 pages long, that's quite a job!).

The Writing: Epistolary format once again.This time written as personal memoirs as part of a Gothic Fiction Elective during the Year Twelve HSC Examination. Moriarty experiments with the writing, so we also have un-punctuated poems and fragmented lines styled like this:
                                                  She turns,
                                                  and just like that,
                                                            she's gone.
And, just so you know, I absolutely love experimental writing styles. 

The Characters: It's true. Jaclyn Moriarty creates some of the most memorable characters ever. Character voices are undoubtedly her strongest point. And one of the best things about her characters? They travel between her books, although they are not sequels. Which is why two of the five main characters in Dreaming of Amelia are Emily and Lydia from The Year Of Secret Assignments! How cool is that? There are also references to Elizabeth and Saxon from Feeling Sorry For Celia and Bindy from Becoming Bindy Mackenzie, so basically you have can shake your head at one of your faves (or not-so-faves). Also, Moriarty is brilliant with making her characters stand out from each other -- so there is Emily with her hyperboles and exclamations, Lydia and her bizarre reality-overlapping-the make belief stories, Toby and his obsession with history and the discreet Amelia and Riley. Basically, the cast totally rocks.

{Special Mention} The Cover: It stands out. It just does. Form the sea of black, this summery blue cover with the back of a girl's head..I love it.

Overall: Fangirling starts now. You have to, have to read this. It's a long book, yes, but this neo-gothic novel with it's charming cast of characters and a mystery at its core is a pleasantly crazy read summer, autumn, winter..anytime. Pick it up. I command you to.


*Omigosh, I love Jaclyn Moriarty! I love Jaclyn Moriarty! I love Jaclyn Moriarty!

9 comments:

  1. I love this cover too :) i have the Aussie one (silver, amelia and riley on the front).

    I read this book in 2 days (okay, started Christmas - ignored all my fam, finished Boxing Day night).

    And I've read it through completely a second time and I randomly flick through all the flipping time b/c every page has something on it to make you smile or feel good.

    I loved the staff in this one too. So truly hilarious.

    I'm sad that there's no more ashbury/brookfield to come...

    how hot is seb? He's one of my all time faves.

    What do you think of the computer ghost?

    Oh, and Toby and the och, aye's so made me love him.

    how did she get to be such a genius? I love how there is no other writer like her... except, have you read her sisters books? Adult fiction, but she has such a similar style, I think you'd like her :) Liane Moriarty.

    xx

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  2. Oh man, Seb and the Computer Ghost were two of my faves!

    I know, I can't believe there are no more Ashbury/Brookefield books *SOB* I have yet to read Bindy Mackenzie, though...

    Her sister writes books too? Wow. That's so cool. I have to check her out.

    And, Nomes, you're my absolute Jaclyn-fangirl-BFF!

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  3. I'm about a third of the way through. I do love seeing the old characters again and some new faves, but I'm finding it a little hard to connect everything at the moment. The cover is beautiful. :)

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  4. Angie ~ Maybe you'll come around it? I hope it works for you because I loved it.

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  5. Your love for this book has drawn me to wonder more about this book! I love the US title, it would be something I would have picked up immediately based alone!!!

    Thank you for sharing about this story!!!

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  6. Jen ~ If you like quirky stuff, you'll love this one. Yeah, I bet the US title leaves you intrigued. Lol Xx

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  7. I love the cover too. I actually like covers that don't show faces, because I want to be able to see them myself.
    Great review! I'm so curious about her experimental writing style. I'm going to have to pick it up!

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