Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Family by Micol Ostow

Family by Micol Ostow
"i have always been broken.
i could have. died.
and maybe it would have been better if i had.

It is a day like any other when seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco, leaving behind her fractured home life and a constant assault on her self-esteem. Henry is the handsome, charismatic man who comes upon her, collapsed on a park bench, and offers love, a bright new consciousness, and—best of all—a family. One that will embrace her and give her love. Because family is what Mel has never really had. And this new family, Henry’s family, shares everything. They share the chores, their bodies, and their beliefs. And if Mel truly wants to belong, she will share in everything they do. No matter what the family does, or how far they go.

Told in episodic verse, family is a fictionalized exploration of cult dynamics, loosely based on the Manson Family murders of 1969. It is an unflinching look at people who are born broken, and the lengths they’ll go to to make themselves “whole” again."- summary from Amazon

I've read a few books from Micol Ostow before and they are COMPLETELY different from this one (I feel like I've read one of her Charmed novels too- god, I love that show). Even though it's a complete 180, Ostow hits it out of the park. I really enjoyed the verse approach in this novel- it always seems to intensify the emotions going on. It flowed so well and really sucked me in; it was lyrical, descriptive, and sometimes a bit stream-of-consciousness, which I liked.

It's a weird thing but I'm a bit fascinated by the macabre; you'd never guess it from my fun, cute demeanor, but it's true. So when I saw what the book was about, I was intrigued. Ostow does a great job with her recreation of the Manson murders and the kind of people who would get involved in it. They're not bad people at all (well, some aren't) and there's so much you learn about them throughout the book.

Overall, this is a very emotional, intense verse novel and it was nice to see Ostow go in this direction and stretch herself as a writer.

FTC: Received ARC from publicist. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.


  1. Thanks for the review - it's on my TBR list and I've heard lots of good things about it.

    Also, didn't realize Ostow had written some Charmed novels - I also love that show!

  2. Wow, yeah, this is a total flip from Charmed novels! I'm looking forward to reading this one--the macabre sounds intriguing. :)

  3. *high five* I too am fascinated by the macabre.
    I hadn't heard about this one but I'll try to find it.

  4. I'm so backed up on my reading but I think this one is next on my TBR list. So glad it's getting good reviews. Way to go, Micol!