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Mabel van Zwanenberg Rouse, Ashmole Academy

The Stars at Oktober Bend

the stars at oktober bend is in Manny James's words, gold! While reading it, I was fascinated by the powerful text, beautiful metaphors, and compelling characters.
The plot revolves around a fifteen-year-old girl called Alice. The book begins with her describing how she is inflicted with the forsaken curse of twelveness. Alice speaks about how she is stuck at the age of twelve, being treated like a twelve-year-old by people she loves and being constantly held back because of who she is. Alice describes herself as broken, possessing a speech impediment that has eradicated all her memories since before the age of twelve (hence the curse of forsaking and twelveness)meaning she has had to relearn how to speak again.This occurred because of a serious incident that is constantly alluded to but not mentioned until later in the book. People treat her like a freak, or like she is not capable of feeling, (this is demonstrated through a corrupt businessman who only speaks to her brother even though she created the objects in question) that is until she meets Manny James an ex-soldier from Sierra Leone. Both are outsiders to this strange world and customs, both find each other and realize what it means to be noticed and to find solstice in each other. Alice uses poetry and art to express herself, whereas Manny tries to run away from his problems, refusing any means of expression. This two meet on a dark night where Alice frustrated with the world and its ideas of perfection flings ripped up poems into the sky, making it snow in summer.
Overall the story is endearing and the characters are compelling. I adore the structure most of all though, the use of enjambment shows Alice's thoughts. Furthermore, the use of no capital letters shows how Alice may not be what someone expects but is something much more meaningful than rules and regulations. Another beautiful feature of this book is the language. Fantastic metaphors paint fantastic scenes and also gives vital details about characters' mannerisms. The book has themes of Human Rights such as
-The right to privacy
-The right to shelter
-And the right to protection.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a powerful, realistic yet surreal story with slightly mature themes. If you liked The Curious Incident Of The Dog in the Night-Time you will absolutely adore this (though I hate to make comparisons as this book is so original and genuine).

Posted on: 12th May 2017 at 05:52 pm

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