Written by Meg Wolitzer
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The Lovereading4Kids comment
October 2014 Book of the Month Jam’s life changed forever on the day that Reeve Maxfield died. She withdraws into herself no longer wishing to live in a world without Reeve. In desperation her parents enrol her into ‘The Wooden Barn’, a boarding school where other ‘emotionally fragile, highly intelligent’ students are each trying to come to terms with their own personal trauma.
When Jam is selected for ‘Special Topics in English’ she is initially disinterested but is soon swept along studying Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and writing in her journal. Something unusual begins to happen to each of the students. What is the strange world that is Belzhar and will if finally return them to their lives and the world they left behind?
Meg Wolitzer's beautiful, poignant writing captures the angst and darkness of a troubled teenage mind perfectly. Belzhar is a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance. ~ Shelley Fallows
Teens love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert review, some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
- Rose Heathcote, age 15 - 'This book was amazing; I couldn't put it down and read it in a day. There was an unexpected magic element to the book but the main story was about loss and heartbreak.' Read full review >
- Jenny Duffy, age 21 - 'Meg Woltizer’s novel is utterly gripping. Her characters are memorable and well written, and their struggles are handled in a sensitive and honest manner.' Read full review >
- Destiny Maraj, age 13 - 'Belzhar was cleverly written with fantastic description which made the story come to life. It has been one of the best books I've ever read!' Read full review >
- Poppy, age 15 - 'I thought that Belzhar was really gripping and inventive, although some of it was a bit dark, it was still really enjoyable.' Read full review >
- John Redfern – Benfield School 'It was a slow start, but then it got better. I wanted to know what had happened to Reeve which was so bad that his girlfriend ended up needing psychological help, this kept me reading.' Read full review >
- Farah Alam - 'Belzhar is an interesting read. It remains to be a reminder of how when something awful happens, that you don't just stop living.' Read full review >
- Eloise Mae Clarkson, age 12 - 'This book contains action, adventure, romance and tragedy...Other people may love it but it wasn't my cup of tea.' Read full review >
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Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
I was sent here because of a boy. His name was Reeve Maxfield, and I loved him and then he died, and almost a year passed and no one knew what to do with me. 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.
'Sure to be an all-too-relatable bestseller' TIME Magazine
'Wolitzer writes crisply and sometimes humorously about sadness, guilt, and anger' Publishers Weekly
‘Love, loss, belonging and acceptance, with a dash of magical realism. I loved it’ The Bookseller
‘The plot maintains an integrity that has come to be hallmark of Wolitzer’s novels . . . An enticing blend of tragedy, poetry, surrealism and redemption’ Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Interest Age: From 12
More books by Meg Wolitzer
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Simon & Schuster Ltd
9th October 2014
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