Review: Isobelle Carmody – Alyzon Whitestarr

Alyzon Whitestarr
Isobelle Carmody

Alyzon is the most boring member of her family. She isn’t artistic, she doesn’t play an instrument and she doesn’t have any interesting physical features. One day she is hit on the head, and wakes up with her senses overwhelmed by smells, real and dubious. She’s a response to a sickness that takes over spirits, and they’re after her… and her sister.

1961314I forget how much I like this novel every time I put it away on the shelf, and then when I pick it up I just can’t stop reading it. It’s fascinating to think that special extensions of senses are just evolution. Let me evolve that way! I wish I had abilities like this. But I wouldn’t want to be able to smell the rotting meat of infected people.

As always, the characters come alive even from the single perspective of Alyzon. This is helped by the fact that we get all of Alyzon’s extended senses telling us (and her) things that other people wouldn’t notice. I like that there is a varied cast, not everyone is boring and mainstream. This reflects the fact that people are different on the inside, even if you can’t see it.

People on GoodReads seem really divided about it. Some hate it, call it boring and awful. Others love it. I can agree that it is often wordy, but it’s part of the story! How else can Alyzon talk about her extended senses? Perhaps it is people reading it as adults. To me, this is a perfect teenage novel, just as it was when I was younger.

I was inspired to read this again because it’s coming out from Ford Street Publishing this year! And when I spoke to Isobelle Carmody (about 3 times in the space of a week), she said she felt like she hadn’t finished with the world of Alyzon. Never mind that Isobelle tends to not want to let go of any of her characters (uh hum, Obernewtyn).

5 stars from me. Did you really expect anything else?

5star

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