Written By: Glenda Leznoff.
Category: Children’s Fiction, Teen & YA.
Publisher: Random House Canada Limited, Tundra Books.
Release Date: October 13th, 2015.
Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Julia Epstein feels her life is over when her family moves from Montreal in the early 1970s to what she considers a suburban wasteland outside Toronto. As her world starts to unravel, Julia meets her new neighbor, the brash and uninhibited Carla Cabrielli, who works her “assets” and knows how to get what she wants. Their instant dislike for each other quickly turns to loathing when they realize they are vying for not only the same role in the school production of Hamlet, but also for the same bad boy – sex magnet, sword-wielding Ian Slater. Compellingly told from Julia’s and Carla’s alternating perspectives, this fast-paced and darkly funny coming-of-age novel explores the poignant culture of friendship, rivalry, trust and betrayal, marking the debut of an important new voice in young adult fiction.
My Thoughts: At first I thought I wasn’t going to like Jules, and I was gonna love Carla, but boy was I wrong. I actually hated Carla. She was sooo bitchy! She thought she was the Queen of Everything! I couldn’t stand her. She is a childish, arrogant bully! It would be easy to say that Heartache and Other Natural Shocks, would have been way better, if I didn’t have deal with Carla, but in the end, the story wouldn’t have worked. I guess she did kind of redeem herself in the end. Not majorly, but somewhat.
I really liked Jules, she is just a girl trying to find herself. She’s not hurting anyone (maybe just her mothers feelings) in the process. Maybe she is being a little bitchy, but what 15 year old girl, who is (unwillingly) moved across the country wouldn’t be? At first she is a people pleaser, but as the story went on, it think she learned that she needed to think of herself too. She learned to fight back. Maybe not in a smart way, but she fought back.
Ian Slater…What was so great about Ian? He was such a loser. I got real tired of him walking around with his ‘Woe is me’ attitude. So what if your parents are losers? You should want better for yourself but instead he was slipping down the loser rabbit hole to join all the other losers. The sad part is, I had hope for him. I thought he would redeem himself by the end of the book, but that didn’t happen. He was selfish from beginning to end.
Now Geoff on the other hand, as soon as I met him, I knew he was the one. Who needs Ian when there’s a Geoff running around? Geoff is everything. Hell, if Jules doesn’t want him I’ll take him. 😛 So what if he is gay? I’d be his best hag! haha kidding! 😉
I usually don’t enjoy reading books told from two different points of view, but this one was not bad at all. I find that in a lot of books with multiple points of view, either mention too much of the same story from person to person, or they don’t mention what happened at all, so it’s not like it really affected them. I don’t know if that makes any sense. It’s kind of hard to explain…Let’s see…For example say Person A saw Person B at a party, and something big happened. Usually Person A will tell the whole story in detail, and Person B will briefly go over it. That’s how this book is, which is great! In other books, Person A and Person B tend to tell the exact same story, with the exact same details, or Person A will talk about it, and Person B won’t even mention it, like nothing even happened. Sorry for the rambling, hopefully that made sense.
Anyways, most of the time in YA books, the year is just mentioned without giving any evidence to support it. Glenda Leznoff sets the scene without boring us with too many details. She gives us enough so that we have a sense of what was going on in those days, without drowning us in boring facts.
The first 25% or the book was a little flat, but as you keep going, it gets better and better. Heartache and Other Natural Disasters surprised me. I thought it was going to be one of those mushy contemporary reads about crushes and girl drama, but I was wrong. It’s more than that. So, if you are looking for a girly chick lit, this is not the book, but if you want something more serious, but not overly depressing, this book is for you! It started out a little slow, but it kept my interest and I’m glad it did. I gave Heartache and Other Natural Disasters 4 Stars.