2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Michael has read 1 book toward his goal of 50 books.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Book Review: Behind Green Glass

Title: Behind Green Glass
Author: Amanda Von Hoffmann
Pages: 184
Rating: O for Outstanding
Review: Whenever you see a Fairy novel and read the synopsis, there always seems to be one thing in common. A human girl meets a fairy boy and falls in love for his beauty and his perfection and something happens where they cannot be together and they meet the fairy world and they live happily ever after. The End. You never hear about fairies that are not perfect and the girls who do not fall in love with them. Until one novel came along.

Behind Green Glass changed that all. The story centers around a girl by the name of Isolde who moved into a new house with her mother. The house, which is in fact very old, is rumored to be haunted. And finding fingerprint smudges on one of your paintings just does not help that rumor go away. But when Isolde finds a green glass, suddenly her perspective of the house is different. Literally.

Through the said green glass, Isolde sees a figure of a boy who she believes is a ghost. She learns of his story, how he fell in love with a human girl who lived a miserable life and ended up killing herself to be with the boy, who she also believed was a ghost and saw through the same green glass. It is not until this boy, Lyric, shows Isolde his family that she discovers that he is not a ghost but a fairy. Isolde wonders why there are only four and why they all looks so different. And that is when she discovers the truth.

These fairies were cast out of their realm because of their imperfections. What we find common troubles, they find something vile and so cruel and an abomination to their perfection. We are talking about stutters, bipolar disorders, deceased wings and even no wings. It is not a surprise when Isolde wants to help these fairies in any way possible. And so their adventure begins.

Behind Green Glass is not just about the adventure though. It is about lessons. Amanda Von Hoffmann does an amazing job at making these two different creatures learn from each other. Isolde, who is shy and non-risk taking, soon learns that she must live for herself when she meets a boy in her new town. And Lyric, who lived life full of sadness and loneliness, must learn that he can make everything around him alive including himself.

The novel is not a huge monster of a novel. It's close to 200 pages which makes displaying your story perfectly a challenge. In just those 200 pages, Amanda Von Hoffmann gave us exactly what we wanted. Forget about the fairy world; this is about the fairies themselves. She gives enough insight into all the characters to make us want to dig deeper into their story. She gives the characters life by giving them troubles that many people experience every day. No, I'm not talking about dating troubles, although they are in the novel, but real troubles. Troubles that people suffer from an cannot escape at all. Another example of why her writing is spectacular is that while she is giving us a novel of fairies, how do we know that it is not about something else?

By now we know this is a book about mental illness-about a girl who just moved to a new house and is starting to see these mythical creatures. At times I wonder if Isolde herself was mentally ill and if all this was just in her head. How she couldn't see anything except if she had the green glass. How the previous owner of the green glass was always kept in her house because her father was "horrible" to her and she later killed herself. When I clearly think about it, I do see that these two girls, the only owners of the glass and the only ones who we know saw the creatures, were in fact mentally ill. Yet, Amanda Von Hoffman did a wonderful job of adding a thick layer of fantasy on top and beautifully written words so that we have to dig deep for this meaning.

It is like a dollar bill. In our hands we have a piece of paper that is green with some stuff on it. But when we think about it, that dollar bill is much more than a piece of paper. That dollar bill brings us a whole new world to our fingertips.

All in all, Behind Green Glass is an amazing novel that makes one think and think again. The ending leaves us at a bit of a cliffhanger that makes us create our own ending in our head. However, whether you go with the outer layer of fairies or if you go with the inner layer of Isolde's supposed mental illness, this novel will not disappoint you.


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