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A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell

Overall Rating: 4.8
Characters: 4.9
Plot: 4.7
Cover Art: 5.0

Favorite Line:
"Guilt and elation make a funny cocktail."-Cora Bradley speaks the truth.

Cora Bradley dreams of escape. Ever since her reckless older brother, Nate, died in a car crash, Cora has felt suffocated by her small town and high school. She seeks solace in drawing beautiful maps, envisioning herself in exotic locales. When Cora begins to fall for Damian, the handsome, brooding boy who was in the car with Nate the night he died, she uncovers her brother's secret artistic life and realizes she had more in common with him than she ever imagined. With stunning lyricism, Sandell weaves a tale of one girl's journey through the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love.

A Map of the Known World is a story that everyone should experience at least once...
This book is fantastic. If anyone ever wants to quote me, go for it. Seriously, this book is such an incredible mixture of heartbreak, loss, and hope. Pick it up, now. Actually, read the rest of my review, THEN pick it up. :)

The Characters: I believe whole-heartedly that the characters make the story. Cora, Damian, and Nate especially lead the journey in A Map of the Known World. From challenges at home and school, and trying to live a normal life, Cora has tons of things on her plate. Throughout the book  I wanted to reach in and give the poor girl a hug! What's great is although I did feel for the girl, she's strong enough to take care of herself for the most part. She tries to be the normal one while her parents basically lose it. She's also the only one making an attempt at putting her family back together again after their loss.

The Plot: Seeing the characters progress through the challenge of losing a loved one is always hard, but Ms. Sandell really makes you feel it. Not only does a teenager die, but he was also an undiscovered prodigy who had more talent than anyone could've ever imagined. That, my friends, is what makes you feel for the family. The transformation that everyone goes through because of Cora while trying to figure out how to move on is truly remarkable.

Cora Bradley changes everything, and is one of my favorite literary figures in a while. I don't just urge you, I'm virtually pushing you out the door to read this book! I can almost promise you won't regret it.

*I'm really trying to catch up on reviews right now, so please bear with me!