on March 15, 2016
Delighted and warmly recommends
The story of Gravity develops as an arch-classical young adult and teen book. A large portion of the story is staged in high school with the annoying rich popular brat and her satellite of other populars, the school bully, the boring teachers, the patronizing principal, with the overprotective parents impatiently waiting at home, with, of course, the shallow mother, the playful, tolerant and still somewhat endurable dad.
And the unpopular misfit girl as main protagonist. Of course, genre requires, the new guy in school is uncommonly handsome and, against all odds, is somewhat attracted to the plain girl which is the hero of the book. Add a little paranormal power she suddenly discovers and voila!
How cliché can a young adult book be?
Except! There are few things that are actually cliché with this story.
The protagonist is not exactly 'weird'; she is just normal and denying this normality as we all did in high school, focusing more on what we did not have, we were not and what others had instead of realizing that being different was as normal as it could get. The bully ends up somewhat philosophical, the haunted house does not have the texture of a Poe's 'House of Usher', the handsome boy is never presented as a soul mate that belongs by some metaphysically doubtful concept to the hero, and her powers have nothing powerful.
The story presents the 'normal' life of Ariel Donovan a few weeks after her best friend who had been drifting apart has just disappeared and was assumed runaway. This disappearance lays the foundation of the not so normal life of Ariel as she discovers the uncanny ability to dream and see ghosts, including her lost friend. Ariel builds herself a new life, including new networks of relations, a new friend, some flirting with her math tutor, the new handsome guy, some Halloween hanging out even with the improbable and very confusing school clown Alex.
Not convinced till now. Well the book has two other main qualities worthy of mention. The characters are normal teenagers (leaving aside the little paranormal that is definitely non-intrusive). They like, struggle normally, talk normally, get bored normally, or envious normally. They look at television, they indulge into their normal play of friendship, or acquaintance, and they get criticized normally by their over-protective yet loving parents. The characters are in each and every way 'probable'. Most could be real or at least give out an air of plausibility. Secondly, the form of the text is happily surprising. Mrs. Boyd succeeds in giving to the text a delightful quality. The vocabulary is impressively varied and the structure of sentences is simple yet elegant.
I would warmly recommend reading this book to any young adult from 12 to 99 years old.