**Thank you to Little Brown for Young Readers for providing me a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley in order to review**
Despite being familiar with A.S. King’s name, I had not yet had the pleasure of reading one of her works. I’m now, of course, rather irate with myself over this fact because if her previous work is even half as interesting as I CRAWL THROUGH IT, then it’s still better than most YA out there.
The blurbs are right in calling this a “boldly surreal novel”: it’s very bold and very, very surreal. This novel is surreal in the style of Kurt Vonnegut: everything is surprisingly plainly written, as if there is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about, for example, a girl calling herself a stomach because she has swallowed herself inside out. Or, even better, that there is a helicopter that a person can only see on a Tuesday, and others can only see it if they believe. Unlike Vonnegut, however, there is a subtle shift in this novel where the surreal language becomes less; our potentially unreliable narrators shift in a new direction.
The surreality is punctuated by the raw emotional power of the characters. We follow the POV’s of several different teenagers, all coping with some kind of emotional trauma or grief — the circumstances of which, for each of them, I will not divulge, but will at least say that they definitely made my heart ache and hold tears at bay. Each voice is unique and distinguishable from each other, just as each teenagers’ surreality is unique to him/her.
All in all this is a beautifully crafted novel with genuine emotion running all the way through it. Those uninitiated in the world of surrealistic writing may find the prose daunting, but there is a definite rhythm and cadence into which you can easily slip. A wonderful novel that everyone should take a shot at reading.
Also, side note: as AMADEUS is my favorite film of all time, I was ecstatic at the constant references to it!