Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Dryland by Sara Jaffe

Title: Dryland
Author: Sara Jaffe
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publish Date: September 1, 2015
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, that did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From "It’s 1992, and the world is caught up in the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the Balkan Wars, but for fifteen-year-old Julie Winter, the news is noise. In Portland, Oregon, Julie moves through her days in a series of negatives: the skaters she doesn’t think are cute, the trinkets she doesn’t buy at the craft fair, the umbrella she refuses to carry despite the incessant rain. Her family life is routine and restrained, and no one talks about Julie’s older brother, a one-time Olympic-hopeful swimmer who now lives in self-imposed exile in Berlin. Julie has never considered swimming herself, until Alexis, the girls’ swim team captain, tries to recruit her. It’s a dare, and a flirtation—and a chance for Julie to find her brother, or to finally let him go. Anything could happen when her body hits water."

My Two Cents:

From "In "Dryland," Julie is a teenage girl who decides to take up swimming. It's something that she has never really shown an interest in before even though her brother was an absolutely amazing swimmer and in a way she uses swimming to try to get closer to her brothers memory. Her brother has disappeared and Julie can't really put together what happened to him. Within this book, she'll figure out not only what happened to him but how it affects the way that she thinks about her family and about her own life. This is a powerful book with a unique voice.

This book is set in 1992 in Portland, Oregon. The time of the book is very important to keep in mind as you're reading as the way that people thought about AIDS at the time was vastly different than how they think about it now. I lived through the 90s but I was a young kid at the time and didn't always understand everything that was going on so it was interesting to see the time period in a book.

Julie is a very interesting character. Not only is she dealing with the disappearance of her brother and trying to take on swimming; she is also dealing with her first real crush on Alexis, one of the girls who gets her to join swimming in the first place. Julie doesn't really know how to deal with her feelings because she is unsure what it'll mean if she admits that she has feelings for another girl. I thought the author did a really good job of capturing what it would be like to go through a crush like that where the object of Julie's affection is in many ways messing with Julie's mind. It was hard to read but it was very realistic. This is truly a coming of age story where the character evolves from where she was at the beginning.

I also must mention that I really liked that the book included swimming. I swam in high school and some of my fondest memories from high school involve swim team. It's where I made some really good friends and had some really fun memories. My specialty event was even the 500m like Julie does in the book (luckily, I am a better swimmer than Julie was!!!).

Overall, I really enjoyed this book is they gave me a glimpse back to a time that I don't often read much about. The writing is incredibly vivid and allowed me to see what Julie was going through end to see her true feelings. I would recommend this book to someone who is looking for a YA book that is a little bit off the beaten path."


1 comment:

  1. The cover caught my eye. When my uncle passed away, my mother made us a pillow from his flannel shirts. Thanks for sharing.
    sherry @ fundinmental


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