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A Map of the Known World

A Map of the Known World - Lisa Ann Sandell I was looking for a fluffy YA read when I picked this book up, but fluffy it is not. In fact, it is one of the rawest books I've read in a long time. Reading it was like reopening a long-closed wound. Oh, teenage years, how I do not miss you very much at all.

This book was like stepping back into my 8th grade year:
Feeling out of place in my hometown? Check.
Not belonging to any particular clique? Check.
Argument with best friend because of a boy at the homecoming dance? Check.
Best friend ditches me because I'm not cool enough? Check.
Locking myself in my bedroom for creative endeavors? Check.
Loosing myself in my creativity? Check.

However, Cora, the main character in the story, has something to deal with that I never did: her brother was killed in a car accident and the last words she said to him as he drove away were hateful ones. This is the story of the way Cora and her family slowly heal from the pain of his death.

At the beginning of the story Cora thinks, "Somewhere else, life has to be beautiful and vivid and rich. Not like this muted palette -- a pale blue bedroom, washed out sunny sky, dull green yellow brown of the fields. Here, I know every twist of every road, every blade of grass, every face in this town, and I am suffocating." Cora decides that she'll paint a pictorial map of the beautiful, vivid, and rich world that she remembers from before -- every twist of road, blade of grass, etc. The author's passion for art shines through on every page through Cora who finds herself, learns about her brother, falls in love, finds forgiveness, finds hope, and finds a vivid world again through art.

This is the type of book you sit down and read in one sitting, not because you want to find out what happens next but because it is true, raw, and leaves your heart hanging by a string through to the end.

Note: While I critique both purchased and free books in the same way, I'm legally obligated to tell you I received this book free through the Amazon Vine program in return for my review. Blah blah blah.