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Review: Relief Map by Rosalie Knecht

Blurb from Goodreads:
In the heat of a stifling summer in her sixteenth year, Livy Marko spends her days in the rust-belt town of Lomath, Pennsylvania, babysitting, hanging out with her best friend, Nelson, and waiting for a bigger life to begin. These simple routines are disrupted when the electricity is cut off and the bridges are closed by a horde of police and FBI agents. A fugitive from the Republic of Georgia, on the run from an extradition order, has taken refuge in nearby hills and no one is able to leave or enter Lomath until he is found.As the police fail to find the wanted man and hours stretch into days, the town of Lomath begins to buckle under the strain. Like Russian dolls, each hostage seems to be harboring a captive of their own. Even Livy’s parents may have something to conceal, and Livy must learn that the source of danger is not always what it appears. Rosalie Knecht’s wise and suspenseful debut evokes the classics while conjuring the contemporary paranoia of the post-terrorist age. Relief Map doesn’t loosen its grip until the consequences of this catastrophic summer, and the ways in which a quiet girl’s fate can be rerouted and forever changed, are made fully apparent.
My Review:
I just finished this book as I write this review and don't even know what to say.  The whole time I was reading this, I felt tense and uneasy just like the characters in the book.  To that end, the book was a total success.  But I feel like I am missing something with the plot or the meaning behind the story.  This book could just be a story for the story's sake -- the feeling of being a teenager, making bad decisions and sometimes without a reason but I feel like there must be something else, something more.  I am honestly left with more questions than answers at the conclusion of this and I still feel uneasy.  The idea of being trapped never sounds good and, yet, Livy made things infinitely worse for herself.  The problem is, we don't get much of a sense of Livy before so I don't even know if her actions were out of character or weren't . . . I will say I think this one will stay with me for a while, if only because I still need answers!!

I'm not even sure what genre to put this one in -- there is some mystery, it is as close to YA literary fiction as I've read and, yet, I don't even know if this should be considered YA.  I liked it but I don't know how to recommend it -- if you want to read a well written book and feel tense and confused, this may be for you.  Relief Map is scheduled to be released next Tuesday, March 29, 2016, and you can purchase HERE.
She stood on packed earth; the grass grew knee-high beside the bare patch, and each blade of it, each angled stem and puff of seed, was perfectly still.  She began to hear her own blood hissing in her ears.  She looked at the edge of the woods, the field going over the hill, the stand of walnut trees around the bedrock at the top, and none of it scratched out any sound to match the seething in her veins.  Her aliveness was monumental and the world was faint and distant and dark.  
She had been like that for most of her adolescence, vivid to herself with the world muted and blurred around her.  Now the world was thunderous.  She pulled up a blade of grass and chewed on the end of it.  The world was loud and close, and her heart and lungs and brain were a tinny afterthought.


  1. I like feeling kind of confused and tense in a book sometimes, if it done well. I think I might this anyways even with the issues/questions. Great review!

  2. I like hearing that the author was able to convey the unease and tension in the town - so much so that you were feeling it while reading. But I don't like finishing a book and kind of wondering, what was the point? I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this one, Eva.

  3. I love tense books! Sorry you felt like you were missing part of the story or something though. I always feel weird about a book when that happens. Great review!

  4. Hmm, I don't think you should necessarily remain so confused once you've finished a book. But maybe? I like the fact that the story made you as tense as the characters were feeling but it seems like you weren't privy to much character growth. I'm sorry this one wasn't really for you, Eva. I hope your current read is dazzling you. :)

  5. I dont like confusing stories so I am sorry to hear that this was the case. I think this one is not for me, thanks for taking one for the team!

  6. I like feeling confused SOMETIMES. It really has to be done right. But I hate that feeling that it's missing something... something that I usually can't put my finger on. Glad you enjoyed this one, despite its issues. Great review! :)

  7. it can always be frustrating when you read a book that is enjoyable but is missing but you can't put your finger on it and it bugs you like crazy. Hope the next book you pick up is more satisfying for you.

  8. It's difficult to write a review when you can't put your finger on the feelings you have for the story. A mixed bag is definitely difficult to recommend or dismiss. I don't like the feeling of having issues unresolved. :/

  9. This book attracts me because it seems different, but at the same time, I hate that you had the feeling of being super unresolved. I honestly just want the issues to feel wrapped up, and I feel like I'd be frustrated with open ended endings!

  10. I've seen a lot of mixed reactions to this book. I don't like it when I feel like I've missed something or need to re-read to catch the gist of a book, either. I'm glad you enjoyed some of it, at least.


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