Title: Slipping Reality
Author: Emily Beaver
Pages: Paperback; 272
Release Date: July 11, 2011
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Nothing of note
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy a good story about dealing with grief and loss.
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In a time of hardship and heartbreak, sometimes, reality just isn't enough. Slipping Reality is the story of fourteen-year-old Katelyn Emerson, who, when faced with the glaring reality of her brother's illness, rebels against the truth by slipping away into the depths of her own imagination. There, she finds the kind of support and comfort she feels she deserves. There, she does not have to feel so alone. And yet, as Katelyn's grasp on reality begins to unravel, so too does the story of a girl who grew up too fast and fell apart too soon. Emily Beaver's debut novel is a coming of age story that deals with the trials of young grief, insight, and growth where it's least expected.
I'm going to ramble a bit in this review, mainly because I'm so torn on how exactly to share with you my feelings about this book. Reading Slipping Reality really makes you think about how to fairly judge a book written by a young author. Should I take her 14 year old age at the time into account? Is that fair? So I'm going to try to be as succinct and fair as possible in explaining my rating for this book.
First off I have to say that I loved the concept of Slipping Reality. In it we meet Katelyn, whose brother is on his third round of battling cancer. Although she tells people that she's handling it, and looks on the outside like she is, inside her mind is a whirlwind of feelings. Katelyn is a character who is trying so hard to hold it all together that you don't notice the cracks in the exterior until much later. What finally happens is that her mind helps her deal by allowing her to escape inside her own head. Katelyn's "daydreams" become her reality.
What lost me a little bit was the writing style in this book. At first, diving into Katelyn's world was pretty easy. The beginning was really well written and introspective. However the further that I got into the book, the more I saw the teenage side of the writer. There are a lot of pop-culture references in here. There are also a lot of references to mundane day to day activities. I don't have a problem with a little bit of these two things. They actually make reading really fun. In this case though, it was bordered on distracting.
My other issue was that I never really connected with Katelyn on a deeper level. The love she has for her brother definitely comes through in the story. You can see how much she is hurting inside as she struggles to deal with his illness. However that's really all we get on the emotional level. I knew other more superficial things about Katelyn, like her love of reading and drawing. It was just that I never really felt attached to her character. Even when her daydreams started impeding her real life, I was just a spectator.
In a nutshell, Slipping Reality reeled me in with its original concept but lost me soon after. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the book. I honestly did. It was just tough to get immersed in. For writing this at such a young age, and doing it so well, I applaud Emily Beaver. If this is just a glimpse at her talent then I'm keeping her on my radar! Who knows what is yet to come.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.