Saturday, August 20, 2016

Book Review Watching Traffic


Not your average young adult story. This is a YA book that I surprisingly enjoyed. This is a small novel that is a fast read. The writing is beautiful and extremely thought provoking. I feel as if Jane Ozkowski, will soon be my favorite author.

As I said earlier this book isn't like the regular young adult books filling the market that seems weighed down by issues. This is a fresh and delightful tale .This is an unexpectedly beautiful and deep novel. Watching Traffic is the perfect novel about coming of age, and finding your place in this world.

I loved that it was set in Canada, I really like when books are set there. I have a love for all things Canada, and I can pretend that I live there. Obviously, I have zero ideas if anything in the book is truly accurate but I have hope because Jane Ozkowski, lives in Canada I believe.

The story follows recent high school graduate Emily, who is telling her story. She is extremely passionate, extremely sarcastic, grim at points, and very blunt. She has an interesting story and many challenges. She has to overcome a tragic past, work through her issues of abandonment, and worry about her failing friendships.

To be honest, her friendships are falling, they are just changing due to them leaving the area. She has to deal with unhealthy adults like a hoarding grandmother, and a dad who doesn't seem to really care about her.

She is flooded with a multitude of problems. She is complete lost and trying to avoid these issues at all cost. Unfortunately, you can't pack way problems they just keep resurfacing. She is an extremely fragile girl regardless of the tough persona she tries to put on.

She is bullied and completely humiliated by strangers because they know what her mother did. Everyone knows what she did. It will be a label on Emily's forehead for as long as she lives in this town. Her life is like a stick of dynamite that might go off at any moment.

Early on we learn that Emily's mother has chosen to commit suicide right after Emily was a couple of years old. She was described as a blood covered toddler. This is the most heart-wrenching part of this novel. The suicide is completely exposed to the public. Everyone knows the gruesome details of this horrific event. She is desperate to not have her mother's past define her life.

Some people label her dumb and even broken. A woman in her town acts as if she is dumb, and wonders if she can properly spell words. This is due to Emily pretending she was trapped and trying to escape. What a horrible feeling for a child to have.

I felt so connected with Emily throughout the story. I felt like we could have been friends in real life. We have similar tragic pasts, all though mine wasn't quite so notorious thankfully. I faced a lot of the same challenges when facing adulthood. This really made me more interested in the book.

This is unlike any YA book, while parts of the story are similar so much is fresh and new. The tackling of new topics like coming of age, small town issues, and tragedies is a breath of fresh air. The author unveils an unconventional story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Overall, this is a young adult novel that I can not recommend enough. Anyone that is interested in a great new ya story should check it out. If you want to explore some Canadian literature this is a great start. This book will make you laugh, cry, and sad all at the same time.

I received this book from Groundwood Books, in exchange for my honest and one hundred percent unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


Goodreads Description: 

Emily has finally finished high school in the small town where she has lived her whole life. At last, she thinks, her adult life can begin.

But what if you have no idea what you want your new life to look like? What then?

While Lincoln gets ready to go backpacking in Australia, Melissa packs for university on the east coast, and a new guy named Tyler provides  welcome distraction, Emily wonders whether she will end up working forever at Pamela’s Country Catering, cutting the crusts off party sandwiches and stuffing mushrooms. Is this her future? Being known forever as the local girl whose mother abandoned her in the worst way possible all those years ago? Visiting her spacey grandmother, watching nature shows on TV with her dad and hanging out with Robert the grocery clerk? Listening to the distant hum of the highway leading out of the town everyone can’t wait to leave?

With poetic prose and a keen eye for the quirks and ironies of small-town life, Jane Ozkowski captures the bittersweet uncertainty of that weird, unreal summer after high school — a time that is full of possibility and completely terrifying at the same time.


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