SYNOPSIS: It has been less than a year since Cora’s brother, Nate wrapped his car around a tree and died. Since that time, her family has been falling apart. Her mother keeps her trapped in the house, she’s not allowed to go anywhere or do anything. Her father doesn’t even speak to her, he just sits in his den watching TV, drinking. The only escape Cora has is in her drawings. Cora draws maps, maps of other countries, countries that she hopes to be able to visit one day.
As Cora’s mother starts getting more unreasonable and strict, Cora gets more defiant and starts breaking the rules. Not coming home right after school, sneaking out, hanging out with Damian; Nate’s best friend and the one person that her parents blame for Nate’s death, since he survived and Nate did not. It is Damian, however, that helps Cora to learn more about Nate, and leads her down a path of recovery and also of possible escape.
REVIEW: Map of the Known World has a very lyrical feel about it, making it a very enjoyable read. I was caught up in the story within the first chapter and really enjoyed Cora’s voice. She was very typical teenager-y to me, a little one sided, not really looking at the situation from anyone’s point of view but her own. I loved her “art” as told through words, and actually wished I could see some of her work in real life.
Everything about this book felt very real to me. Even the friendship between Cora and Rachel, the crumbling relationship due to High School and differences of interest; this is something that happens all the time, and is always a little earth shattering to the participants. Growing up is hard to do, growing up due to tragedy is even harder, I can only guess. I think Cora’s rebellion was even natural and normal, and necessary for her as a person. She was breaking free from her restraints in her own way, and I felt that it has she not done it, she really would not have made any progress in her life, and recovery.
WHAT I LOVED: This was a tragic and sad book without being overwhelming. The book was also left a little up in the air, there was no pretty red bow wrap up, which is good because it left the reader knowing (hoping) for more growth and healing, and just knowing that life continues.
NOT SO MUCH: Hmm. Nothing stands out to me. I didn’t absolutely love the book. I did not fall in love with Damian like I like to do with the male leads. The book was just good. It told a story, and did it well.