Monday, October 13, 2008

Book Review: The Day I Killed James

Catherine Ryan Hyde and I have been Myspace friends for a while, a fact I find very cool since I am a fan of her novel, Pay It Forward, and its feature film version, starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment.

And while Kelly is primarily the book reviewer here at YA Fresh, I approached Catherine about reviewing her May 2008 release, The Day I Killed James, and was very pleased when she not only responded enthusiastically, but had her publicist mail me a copy.

Here is the press release blurb:

Everything seems ideal in Theresa’s life--she’s beautiful, popular, and she’s dating the “perfect” guy. So when her fickle boyfriend decides he’s not sure what he wants, it’s only harmless jealousy and a little self-pride that makes Theresa bring her cute older neighbor, James, to a party. And even though James loves Theresa, it’s only for the night, so it’s risk-free, right? But when everything goes horribly wrong, and James commits suicide, it becomes anything but a “harmless” night. To cope with the pain, Theresa runs away, shaves her head, and vows never to let anyone close enough to love her again. But the more Theresa runs, the more she must face herself.

I really enjoyed this book. It kept me thinking, kept me feeling, and kept me rooting for the main character to find her way to self-forgiveness.

Theresa reveals her pain in journal form, first person and third, in short chapters, but the writing is so heartfelt and powerful that the book has a bigger, meatier feel that only 200+ pages.

Take, for instance, the following passage. When musing about how Theresa suddenly started missing James, she says:

“No, that’s not right to say I started. I didn’t start. I just kind of joined it in progress, zero to a hundred percent while I wasn’t even paying attention. It wasn’t there, then it was.”

I stopped short after reading that paragraph, marveling over how many times in my life I have suddenly found myself in mid-emotion, not knowing when it started or how I’d gotten so far into its throes. And thinking about how she’d not only identified that feeling, but how perfectly she’d described it.

Catherine Hyde Ryan weaves a tender and beautiful story in The Day I Killed James. I expect it to hear much about it in the days to come, on Favorites and Best lists...and who knows, maybe it’ll make to the big screen, as well?

2 fresh comments:

Janie Emaus said...

Hi Tina,
That was a beautiful passage that you quoted and has made me want to run out and get this book.


Kelly Parra said...

ooh, sounds like a great read! Thanks for telling us about it, Tina!!