Title: Our Song
Author: Jordanna Fraiberg
Release Date: May 2, 2013
Release Date: May 2, 2013
Published by: Razorbill
Olive Bell has spent her entire life in the beautiful suburb of Vista Valley, with a picture-perfect home, a loving family, and a seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a near-fatal car accident, she’s haunted by a broken heart and a melody that she cannot place.
Then Olive meets Nick. He’s dark, handsome, mysterious . . . and Olive feels connected to him in a way she can’t explain. Is there such a thing as fate? The two embark on a whirlwind romance—until Nick makes a troubling confession.
Heartbroken, Olive pieces together what really happened the night of her accident and arrives at a startling revelation. Only by facing the truth can she uncover the mystery behind the song and the power of what it means to love someone.
Honestly, this was a tough book to get through. A part of me was expecting a light, fluffy read despite the delicate subject matter (Come on, the main character meets a guy after her accident. I'm sure some of you felt the same way.) but I didn't get that. At all. This was a serious and somber read through and through, give or take a few chapters in the end. I don't consider Our Song a terrible read or anything like that, but reading this novel had me in a dark mood that I had trouble shaking off, and a lot of this I can attribute to the main character, Olive.
In all my years of reading all kinds of novels under every possible genre you can think of, I have never met a character like Olive. I have never quite encountered a character whose outlook in life is so bleak, and I have never met a character who has such low self-esteem either. This was just painful to read, most especially since I can't help but realize that there exist similar people in our world today. Olive can only begin to treat herself with an iota of respect when other people approve of her, so just imagine what happens when her boyfriend breaks up with her. Everything plummets into nothingness, and Olive's entire persona - her entire being - shatters. Simply put, Olive's self-worth is tied to how other people think of her, and that's just sad, and I really cannot reiterate this enough, jarring to read.
After Olive's accident (which many people think of as a suicide attempt), she has no idea how to pick up the remaining pieces of who she once was. She may have been given a second chance at life, but how exactly does she go from here? She suspects her father is having an affair; her mother is treating her like a child; and her ex-boyfriend has moved on. It's only when Olive meets Nick, another one who had gone through a near-death experience, that Olive begins to finally live. She does things that she has never done before, and she finally, finally, learns to love herself.
I loved how Fraiberg adeptly explored the nooks and crannies of Olive and Nick's relationship. Both of them have their secrets that they are holding on to so desperately, but the connection is definitely there between the two. It wasn't about hooking up much as it was about finding that one person who understands you the most, and this is something I particularly enjoyed reading about. Every time Olive and Nick are together, you see her learn to stand up on her own two feet, one step at a time. You see her learn to treat herself with more respect; you see her learn to think for herself. Most of all, she finally realizes that maybe, just maybe, there are people out there who love her for who she already is. All of this was made possible by the fact that Nick stood by Olive when she most needed someone, and when tides turn and Nick was the one who needed a shoulder to lean on, Olive doesn't hesitate to be that person for him.
Throughout the course of the novel, Olive talks about a certain haunting song stuck on her head. She has no idea where she heard it, but every single time she's on the midst of giving up or making a terrible decision, the song will play inside her head and give her the strength she desperately needs. Initially, I couldn't quite grasp just why this song needed to be present in the novel, but just to let everyone know, everything clears up near the end. I actually love how Fraiberg weaved this concept with all the discussions about near-death experiences throughout the course of the novel.
While not as fast-paced as everyone may like, Our Song is a poignant read all the same. It might take a while before it hooks you in, but once it does, you wouldn't want to let go. While not an easy character to read about, Olive's personal growth throughout the novel is both astounding and inspiring. Initially, you may have perceived her character as frail, annoying and flat-out frustrating, but I assure you - that would change come the final chapters of the novel. The ending is hauntingly beautiful, and would definitely stay with me for a long time to come. Most of all, Fraiberg did a bang-up job in tackling concepts about near-death experiences and its consequences. I can't wait to read more from this author!
Rating: 3.5 Stars
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