Books

Book Review: Special Topics In Calamity Physics

I picked this book up because it was free, and because the blurb made it sound like a crime novel, which it was. Sort of. It was interestingly written; all the way through I was trying to work out what it reminded me of, and then I realised: it was like reading something by a female, teenage version of Umberto Eco. The literary references, the academic writing style applied to a work of fiction, the constant quotations from other sources.

The story is fairly straightforward: a girl finds her teacher dead; she appears to have killed herself. We begin the book by meeting the girl, Blue, at university; she decides to write about her experience because she thinks it will be good for her to go over it.

We then start on a journey through her teenage school days, flashing back to past times with her father, travelling around the USA. He’s a lecturer, and they move often. Eventually they settle, and Blue falls in with a group of kids who are known throughout their school as “the Bluebloods”. But are they all what they seem? After striking up a friendship with a teacher, she begins to learn things about them that don’t seem to fit with what she’d always assumed.

But what is right? Who are the Bluebloods? What is the nature of their relationship with Hannah Schneider, the strange, artistic film studies teacher? Did Hannah kill herself? If so, why?

It’s an interesting read; slightly dragging in places, but I wanted to finish it. Partly this was because I wanted to know what happened, but mainly because I just found the writing style unusual and interesting.

Definitely worth a read, if you can find a copy.

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