How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Simon and Schuster UK Children’s
A group of emotionally fragile, highly intelligent teenagers gather at a therapeutic boarding school where they are mysteriously picked for ‘Special Topics in English’. Here, they are tasked with studying Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and keeping a journal.
Each time the teens write in their diaries they are transported to a miraculous other world called Belzhar, a world where they are no longer haunted by their trauma and grief – and each begins to tell their own story.
I had heard so many good things about Belzhar and a range of mixed opinions as well, so I was really looking forward to picking up my copy. I thought it was a fascinating book, that I found easy to devour.
Belzhar centres around a group of very emotionally ‘fragile’ teenagers. They’re sent to a boarding school to help them out with their problems. The group are picked for ‘Special Topics in English’, in which they are made to study Sylvia Path’s The Bell Jar. They find this strange, given their state of mind. However, more strange things begin to happen. As part of the class the students have to keep a journal- as they write in the diary they are transported to a world they refer to as Belzhar. In this world they are no longer affected by their problems. It is in this world that we learn their stories!
I think if you go into reading Belzhar knowing that it includes some magical realism then you will have a much better reading experience. It is a bit of a strange book, yet it’s wonderfully written and I think it’s worth giving it a try even if it is a little weird! It is only after finishing the story that I realise how much this book has made me think. It has some very intriguing characters. It’s incredibly clever. I can’t go into too much depth in a review, because it would be laden with spoilers and no-one wants that.
Belzhar deserves to be read and discussed. It stands out from anything else out there!
Would I recommend it?: