Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Jam isn’t interested in life anymore after the death of her boyfriend, Reeve, and even though the pair only knew each other for 41 days, 26 of which they actually went out, Jam has not gotten over his death almost a year later. Without knowing what to do with her anymore, Jam’s parents send her to the Wooden Barn, a school for teenagers who have significant problems. Once there, Jam is selected to be in Special Topics in English, a class that is for a very select few, and no one really knows why certain people are selected and others not. In this class, they are to read Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and study the book in depth, as well as write a journal. It is through this assignment that these few teenagers will visit Belzhar, a place so special they may not want to leave.

Belzhar is a novel about loss, grief and wallowing, as well as first love and the devastating effects it can have on the teenage psyche. I must admit, this book will not be for everyone, but it is for young-adult readers looking for a novel with a unique story and interesting twist. For ages 13 and up.

Katherine Dretzke