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Alyzon Whitestarr by Isobelle Carmody

Alyzon Whitestarr (2005)

by Isobelle Carmody

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Reviewed by Breia "The Brain" Brickey for TeensReadToo.com

Alyzon isn't like the other people in her family. She wasn't born with a special gift, and she thought that she would always be the ordinary one in a family of super-talented people. When she experiences an accident that gives her powers of her own, Alyzon realizes there is more going on than what she initially figured.

Her new power enhances her senses so that colors are more vibrant, her memory is the best it's ever been, and her sense of smell is better than all of her other senses. Excitement and intrigue follow Alyzon as she tries to figure out exactly what her powers can be used for.

Will these changes help or harm her family?

ALYZON WHITESTARR by Isobelle Carmody is one of those books that you will want to reread over and over again, with wonderfully written characters who make you feel like they are part of your own family. Ms. Carmody shows her readers what it's like to be the oddball in the family, but makes it enjoyable every step of the way. Definitely a 5-star read. ( )
  GeniusJen | Jan 28, 2011 |
A thought-provoking fantasy set in this reality from the perspective of the plain, untalented teenage daughter who comes from a poor but an incredibly artistic family, who finds her senses are extended after she's in an accident. I don't agree with all of it's philosophy, but it's a fantastic book.

I rather liked that it was set in reality, not fantasy land. I’m not sure why, but I did. I found myself being drawn into it. It was captivating and very hard to put down. The fantasy element was a bit difficult to cope with at first, but it soon became part of the story – and more importantly, part of the character. Part of Aly. Essentially, it was a book about the battle between good and evil. It was about what one expresses through art – through music, through painting, and through what you write. Aly comes from a musical family, except for her mother who is a painter. She’s seen as the odd-one out, but her talent would have to be for writing. No one seems to realise it; in fact, I don’t think I realised it until I wrote it. Aly has a way of putting things into words, just as her father has a way of putting things into his music. “Being angry isn’t the same as being young.
It had some interesting ideas in it. It was saying something about the world; about people and about life. It wasn’t just trying to tell a story. But it also was a story about being a teenager. About relating to others, about friendship, about school and how people view you because you are a teenager. It was about compassion, and bonds between people.

I thought it clever, the way Alyzon gave information about her family which later turned out to be important, but in a way that it didn’t seem important at the time. I liked her family, how they were dysfunctionally functional. I liked Alyzon’s friends; I liked how they trusted and related to each other, and took each other’s peculiarities in their stride.

It's just a book I felt I really got something out of. It is different, captivating and interesting. It is moving, and it has something to say, as well as a good story to tell. Rereading it, I wish there was less superfluous description, but such detail is simply part of its style, and took several rereads before I even noticed it. ( )
  Herenya | Dec 20, 2008 |
Why have I been putting off borrowing and reading this forever? (probably because of the odd spelling of my name) Is it because Isobelle Carmody BETRAYS US ALL with her lack of forthcoming books in series she started before I was a teenager? This was great, though.
  alasen_reads | Jun 9, 2007 |
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for my brother Matthew who talked philosophy at seven...
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The sky was a soup of colours swirled together and the sea was restless under it.
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Alyzon Whitestarr doesn't take after her musically talented father or her nocturnal, artistic mother. In fact, she's easily the most normal member of a very eccentric family . . . until the day that an accident leaves her more unique than she ever could have dreamed.
Suddenly Alyzon's senses and perceptions are enhanced to the nth degree. Colors are more vibrant, her memory is flawless, and even her sister's cooking tastes exquisite.
But strangest of all is Alyzon's sense of smell. Through it, she can discern a person's essential nature and perceive the moods and intentions of others. Her new best friend smells of a comforting sea breeze. She registers her father's contentment as the sweet scent of caramelized sugar, and his anxiety over bills is acrid as ammonia. So why does the cutest guy in school smell so rancid? And what reason could he possibly have to ask her on a date?
With Alyzon's extrasensory perception comes intrigue, danger, and romance. Will being different prove to be a blessing or a curse?
First published in Australia in 2006, Alyzon Whitestarr won two Aurealis Awards for outstanding sci-fi and YA writing.
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Alyzon Whitestarr thinks of herself as more white mouse than star, until something happens that heightens her senses, enabling her to smell people's feeling, perceive their essences, and see flashes of their lives. ... Then Alyson realises that some people's spirits are afflicted by a strange and ravenous disease which is both sentient and hungry for new hosts...and that just as she can perceive the sickness, so the sickness can perceive her....… (more)

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