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Dear Reader: A Novel

Review

Dear Reader: A Novel

Be transported into a modern WUTHERING HEIGHTS in Mary O'Connell's DEAR READER. Although she may not feel the same way about her ultra-preppy classmates, Flannery loves Miss Sweeney's AP English class. But when Miss Sweeney goes missing and Flannery looks for answers, she instead finds her teacher's copy of WUTHERING HEIGHTS, which becomes Miss Sweeney's real-time diary. Confusing? A little, but it gets more interesting. Knowing her teacher's location, Flannery follows her to New York City where she meets Heath Smith, the modern version of the classic's Heathcliff.

"O'Connell managed to retell a classic and make it available in a modern context in an impressive manner."

The narrative voice can be a hit or miss depending on what kind of narrator you prefer. If you prefer novels with quirky narrations, this book will be a hit. Personally, I prefer reading third person tellings because I want to be able to appreciate all of the characters involved in the novel, and not just the one narrating the story. Flannery's chapters were, however, gradually more interesting to read as I got used to her style of narration. Her long solo conversations that were once boring ended up adding an element of immersion into the story through her voice. Clever remarks and absurd side comments made by Flannery were really funny and sometimes even made me laugh.

Although I initially thought the story was genuinely strange, I ended up loving this DEAR READER; O'Connell managed to retell a classic and make it available in a modern context in an impressive manner. Looking past the obvious disparities within the story, this book is physically gorgeous. I absolutely loved the way the pages were roughed up along the outer edges. This is also an awesome introduction to magical realism for those who aren't familiar with it.

DEAR READER comes with a unique premise: a modern retelling of a classic, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, and an unforgettable read. I will admit I was a bit skeptical of this book, especially since the prose is not what I am used to reading at all. However, the premise was delivered: DEAR READER is by all odds an original and fun read.

I do disagree with its retailing as a YA novel since I feel like the prose is more appropriate for a middle-grade reader, but if you are in the mood for a quick and fun read, then, by all means, read on! This was a diverting read, and I recommend it to anyone looking for some poolside reading.

Reviewed by Rachel D., Teen Board Member on May 25, 2017

Dear Reader: A Novel
by Mary O'Connell

  • Publication Date: May 9, 2017
  • Genres: Coming of Age, Fiction, Magic
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Flatiron Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250077087
  • ISBN-13: 9781250077080