Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Family Review

Author: Micol Ostow
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Pages: 376 (ARC)
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Most Appropriate For Ages: 14+
Where I Got It: From publisher for review

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.
Give me a book about zombies, demons, or even serial killers and it doesn't faze me. But give me a book about a cult and I'm completely freaked out to the point that I'm looking in my closet for cult leaders trying to murder me and/or share their "message" (which would be worse? Honestly, I'm not sure). Apparently I have a huge fear of cults. Who knew? Anyways, on to the actual review:

I love books written in verse, but Micol Ostow's was different than any verse I've read before. Ostow's writing has a sense of urgency to it, almost like song lyrics. It's usually beautiful and unique, but oftentimes I found myself confused by the chaotic verse.

I can't blame Melody for blindly following Henry and joining his beyond-creepy cult. She'd had a horrible past, and was just...desperate. If nothing else, Family is an unflinchingly raw and real look at how people who have had horrible things happen to them can incredibly desperate belong to something or someone. 

Family was...creepy, mostly. But also a good contemporary that I read very quickly, though I'm not sure how long it will stay with me. Fans of the genre and verse books should give it a try.

Plot: Well-paced and creepy.
Characters: We don't get a good feel for any of them cause Henry had already brain-washed them all.
Writing: Lost me sometimes, but was mostly good.
Ending: Very abrupt.
Kind Friendly? Eh. There were mentions of child molestation, sex, and drug use. And it was just a very creepy book overall.
Should I read it? If it sounds like something you'd like, give it a go.


  1. I've been seeing this around a lot lately and the cover definitely intrigues me. It makes me want to find out more about the 'family.' Thanks for the review. Might check it out.

  2. I totally agree about the writing. For the most part it was very well done and unique but there were times it was too much and became confusing. In general I thought the book was really good. Great review!



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