Life: An Exploded DiagramLife: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet

Mal Peet can write like nobody’s business. He can make the Cuban missile crisis compelling, for crying out loud. He can make the world’ most annoying characters readable. He can also write an ending (a non-ending?) that makes me want to throw the book across the room.

I didn’t actually throw it – it was a library book – but I did toss it onto the coffee table in disgust. I would also argue that maybe this shouldn’t have been published as a young adult book in the US – although the main characters are teens for a book portion of the book, and I know there are teens who would find the book compelling (the slightly brainy ones who don’t mind bleakness and love Honors English), the book as a whole felt more adult.

All that aside, this is a carefully crafted, well-constructed, brilliant piece of bleakness. I can admire it but I cannot love it. If that’s your cup of tea, I recommend it.

Source: my public library

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Previously: Tamar by Mal Peet, which I loved.

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