Monday, October 6, 2014

Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho

Title: Althea & Oliver
Author: Cristina Moracho
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Classification: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Friendship
Release Date: October 9, 2014
Source: e-galley via NetGalley (Thank you so much, Penguin Young Readers and Viking Juvenile!)
Read: September 2014
What if you live for the moment when life goes off the rails—and then one day there’s no one left to help you get it back on track? Althea Carter and Oliver McKinley have been best friends since they were six; she’s the fist-fighting instigator to his peacemaker, the artist whose vision balances his scientific bent. Now, as their junior year of high school comes to a close, Althea has begun to want something more than just best-friendship. Oliver, for his part, simply wants life to go back to normal, but when he wakes up one morning with no memory of the past three weeks, he can’t deny any longer that something is seriously wrong with him. And then Althea makes the worst bad decision ever, and her relationship with Oliver is shattered. He leaves town for a clinical study in New York, resolving to repair whatever is broken in his brain, while she gets into her battered Camry and drives up the coast after him, determined to make up for what she’s done. Their journey will take them from the rooftops, keg parties, and all-ages shows of their North Carolina hometown to the pool halls, punk houses, and hospitals of New York City before they once more stand together and face their chances. Set in the DIY, mix tape, and zine culture of the mid-1990s, Cristina Moracho’s whip-smart debut is an achingly real story about identity, illness, and love—and why bad decisions sometimes feel so good. 

***I received an e-galley of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Pretty interesting story. This book grabbed my attention from the very beginning and didn't let go. I had a very hard time putting the book down.
This book concentrates on Althea and Oliver. They have been Best Friends for the past ten years. It is one of those friendships that consumes you. They are pretty much inseparable.
Until Oliver discovers he has KLS (Kleine-Levin Syndrome) a rare sleep disorder which causes him to fall asleep for large chunks of time.

KLS takes a toll on both Oliver and Althea and they are left to deal with and come to terms with everything that is happening.

Althea takes it really hard and struggles with the fact that whatever is causing Oliver to sleep for so long, takes away her best friend for weeks at a time. And poor Oliver has to wake up and deal with the fact that live has been continuing on without him while he has been out.

I like that the story isn't all sugar-coated and sweet. It includes the hard stuff. Mistakes and things that you might wish you could take back, but can't. It really makes the whole story feel realistic.

These are raw, realistic characters that aren't always liked by the reader. For me, what made this book so moving was the characters themselves. They are so well written and developed.

There are things that Althea does that I don't agree with and sometimes I didn't really understand why she decided to do the things she did. But I did find her to be a very well-written character. Sometimes, I thought she could come off as being a bit selfish, but I also can't imagine the strain that is placed on her due to watching what is happening to her best friend and not being able to do anything to help him or make it better. Also, dealing with the fact that she does not know when he will wake up again. For the past ten years, her life has been in orbit with his, they did everything together and he was pretty much her only friend. There were plenty of times during this story, I wanted to be able to hug her and tell her that everything will be okay. We all make bad decisions in the moment, don't always think clearly. Which really made this book and this character feel so realistic.

Oliver is a great character. I really feel for him throughout the book. He has to deal with so much and has a hard time accepting his syndrome. While I read the story, I wished that there was something I could do to make things better for him. I think he is a great character that readers will be able to connect with. I like the development of his character. I especially like when he starts to put himself first and wants to figure things out. He is a nice guy in a hard situation, and I like that he is able to not let it bring him completely down.

I like a lot of the other characters too. Oliver has some interesting friends that Althea gets to know better. And I like the group of friends that she makes when she goes to New York.

My Recommendation:
I really enjoyed reading this story. It is quick paced and interesting. It is bittersweet and realistic. I recommend giving it a read.

My Rating:


  1. And now I'm curious about this book. I cannot imagine how one could handle such an illness. I think that it should be an interesting read. Great review :)

    1. Yay! And thank you!
      I started it late one night, and had the hardest time putting it down to go to sleep. Then I finished it the next day.
      I hope you read it and enjoy it as much as I have!


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