By: Stephanie Lawton
Pub. Date: June 7, 2012
Publisher: InkSpell Publishing
Julianne counts the days until she can pack her bags and leave her old-money, tradition-bound Southern town where appearance is everything and secrecy is a way of life. A piano virtuoso, she dreams of attending a prestigious music school in
Boston. Failure is not an option, so she enlists the help of New England Conservatory graduate Isaac Laroche to help her. She can't understand why he suddenly gave up Boston's music scene to return to the South. He doesn't know her life depends on escaping it. Julianne must face down madness from without, just as it threatens from within. Isaac must resist an inappropriate attraction, but an indiscretion at a Mardi Gras ball-the pinnacle event for Mobile's elite-forces their present wants and needs to collide with sins of the past. Will Julianne accept the help she's offered and get everything she ever wanted, or will she self-destruct and take Isaac down with her?
When I first saw the cover for Want, I knew I had to read it, so I was very excited to be asked to join the blog tour for it. Want is not your typical YA, there are a lot of very serious problems and complications throughout it.
Julianne has gone through so much in her 17 years of life. Her mother is mentally unstable and beats Juli on many occasions. To deal with it, Juli "scrapes" her arm, a form of self-mutilation. But there is some light in her life, and that is the piano. Juli is beautiful piano teacher and her dream is to play professionally. When her teacher has a stroke just months before her big audition, his nephew, Isaac, a piano genius, steps in and becomes her teacher. Isaac is 10 years older then Juli, and hides many secrets about himself.
Isaac was a very interesting character. He could be very sweet and generous, but he had a mean and controlling side in him as well. I could never figure him out. Even when we learn his secrets, I still couldn't understand him. I was a little disappointed with his character development, but I also understood his reasons for doing certain things, especially towards the end.
Juli on the other hand was a very strong and brave character. The scenes with her mother were heartbreaking and I just wanted to give her a big hug. Even though she had some admirable qualities, I couldn't stand other things about her! She was the biggest idiot in the world. Some of the conclusions she came up with completely baffled me. Despite this, I still wanted her to have a happy ending, she deserved it.
Juli and Isaac had a very complicated relationship, but they were both so broken, that somehow it worked. Isaac's best friend Dave definitely changes the dynamic between them, and it was nice to have at least one character be a happy person!
Want started off a little to slow for my liking, and I had some issues with the writing. I felt it was a little choppy at times. There were also many plot holes that I wished would have been answered. I don't like being left with questions.
Overall, while there were some things that bothered me about Want, I did enjoy it. It was an interesting story and very different from other stories out there. I would definitely recommend it.
I also have the author, Stephanie Lawton visiting the blog today.
From all the books you have read, have there been any stories or characters that changed you or made you see something in a different way?
First, thanks so much for having me and this is a great question, though I could probably write a dissertation on all the characters and books that have changed me!
One of the most recent reads that stuck with me is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky. A friend and YA blogger had been bugging me to read it, so I finally caved a couple months ago when they were filming the movie.
It was such a thin little thing with a weird yellow cover that I didn’t expect much. I thought the first couple pages were pretty simple, but I liked the epistolary format. Next thing I know I’m laughing, crying at the big reveal and turning the last page.
There are two other YA books that still haunt me: Sea by Heidi R. Kling and A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young (I’m dying to get my hands on the sequel!). Sea is an underrated hidden gem that gutted me then put me back together with hope for the characters’ happiness. It’s set against the tsunami that hit
in 2004, and left me both
sobbing and smiling at the end. Indonesia
A Need so Beautiful is unlike any book I’ve ever read. It’s so moving and spiritual, yet it doesn’t espouse any particular religion or denomination, nor is it preachy. It’s elegant, lyrical and wonderfully deep.
There are two non-YA “classics” that also stick with me years after reading them. The first is “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays: First Series (1841). It’s a bit lofty, but I read it in high school at a time when I needed to hear those words—that my thoughts and opinions carried just as much weight as the next person’s. You grow up listening to everyone else’s opinion, the experts’ opinions, then you’re grilled on them so you can spit them back out for a test. Emerson’s essay made me realize that I could turn down the Kool-Aid everyone was trying to shove down my throat.
If you’ve read Want, you won’t be surprised that the final book I’ve chosen is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath because it is SO. MESSED. UP. It was the first book I read about major mental illness and completely fascinated me because it made me squirm. Written in the 1960s, it’s seriously outdated for a modern audience, but there’s a delicious twistedness that really translates to this generation. That it’s somewhat autobiographical, and the author committed suicide shortly after its publication, makes it all the more tragic and gripping.
Now, enough about me. What books are on your list of life-changers and why?
Want to win an e-copy of Want? Just fill out the form at the bottom to enter! Good luck.