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The Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee
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The Anatomy of Wings (2007)

by Karen Foxlee

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138686,938 (3.64)11
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  1. 00
    In the Place of Fallen Leaves by Tim Pears (Becchanalia)
    Becchanalia: Another bildungsroman, delicately written with the same lyrical, questing tone
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An excellent book, and I hope its YA label hasn't limited its readership.
Jennifer Day’s big sister Beth has died, and her family isn’t coping. Aged only ten, Jenny tries to make sense of what has happened, trying to unravel Beth’s secrets while also dealing with her parents’ and sister Danielle’s distress. She has to confront Beth’s bad-girl reputation in a tough outback mining town, survive at school and manage her own grief as the fragile remnants of her family tear each other apart. The trauma of all this has robbed her of her powerful singing voice and although she can’t articulate this clearly, she knows that solving the mystery of her sister’s bizarre behaviour is the key to recovering her voice - and perhaps her equilibrium – in time for the school eisteddfod. With her bemused friend Angela who keeps a Book of Clues, she muddles around seeking answers…

This could have been a dreary, sentimental story, but Jennifer’s voice is strong, funny and perceptive. Her naïve voice is authentic even when she confronts brutal events that make this a book for mature readers.
To read the rest of my review, please visit http://anzlitlovers.com/2011/12/11/the-anatomy-of-wings-by-karen-foxlee/ ( )
1 vote anzlitlovers | Dec 11, 2011 |
Told in a melancholy mood throughout, The Anatomy of Wings had an almost lyrical tone. It wasn’t quite hard to imagine it as a poem, with its short and powerful sentences. Beautifully written to say the least.

The transition of Beth’s utter demise and total breakdown was well crafted, the clues helping to move along the story. When I first read the novel, nothing made sense; it was too much to handle all at once. But after settling down for a few minutes and recollecting my thoughts, I found myself actually enjoying it somewhat.

What had forced me from giving this a higher grade was the fact that it had too much going on at the same time. It was much too random, too confusing to completely stay focus to the main plot, which to this point I’m still not sure what is was. It started out with Beth’s funeral, then it moved to Jenny losing her singing voice and trying to reclaim it, next came the boy’s anatomy, which was also random within itself, and finally to the stories behind each member of the community. Stir and repeat. However, I have to admit, some of the stories were captivating and engrossing.

I just have to mention that Beth’s character developed wonderfully. I just can’t seem to explain why…Also, Jenny sounds so much older than she actually is. She's supposedly 10 but sounds to be in the later teens.

Overall: This book I have a feeling was written to be re-read. The first time everything was too disjointed, but I believe that the second read will be much more pleasant. So would I recommend this book? I’m not too sure actually. The best I can say is that whenever you have some free time, just try to reach to the two hundredth page. Take small intervals time to time to help you keep interest in this story because it was quite hard to continue reading. ( )
  ylin.0621 | Feb 19, 2010 |
Jenny was only 11 when her 14 year-old sister committed suicide. This is a story about what led Beth to killing herself and the effects of her death to her family. This si an exciting and very well written book that I would suggest to anyone who wants to read about how such a good life can go so wrong so quickly, and how a family can fall apart as a result of it. I recommend this book to any teenage girl. ( )
  ahsreads | Jan 20, 2010 |
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

Her sister Beth is gone, and Jenny wants to understand why it all happened. At ten years old, she knows no one will tell her the truth, so she is determined to discover it for herself.

Her search begins with a blue cardboard box. She plans to sift through the things Beth left behind and find clues to explain why Beth changed. There are ballet slippers, a broken heart pendant, black rubber-band bracelets, and an address. Jenny uses them to recall memories and events that led to her sister's death.

Woven in among Jenny's memories are the struggles of the rest of the family. Some are part of the lies and deceit that contributed to Beth's downfall. Others are part of the efforts to stop her downward spiral.

Their parents tried to control their wayward daughter when things began to head in the wrong direction. They tried to limit her activities and monitor her friendships, but Beth used Jenny and anyone else she could to concoct alibis that allowed her to carry on with her dangerous life.

As in many stories with a mystery, Jenny stumbles across more questions than answers as her family crumbles around her.

THE ANATOMY OF WINGS is the first novel for author Karen Foxlee. She shows great creative promise with her unique characters and fierce emotion. She captures the turmoil of those left behind after a tragedy, and the tremendous effort required to hold life together.

Readers may find it challenging at times to separate the different threads of this complex story, but if they are up to the challenge, they will find Foxlee is an author to keep an eye on in the future. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 9, 2009 |
I saw this book at the library and thought it looked interesting. Its a YA book about a 10 year old girl Jennifer and her family living in a small town in Australia.
Jennys sister Beth dies and she tells about her life leading up to her death . She talks about her family; her Nanna who she is not allowed to see, her mothers stress and frustrations with dealing with Beth and her rebellion, her younger sister Danielle and her 'back brace', how she and her friend Angela find clues to what happened to her 'singing voice'.
She also includes stories about her neighbors on her street. It was an interesting read with no real 'bang' at the end but still entertaining.

Suggested for grades 8-12. ( )
  NWADEL | Jul 31, 2009 |
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Years later when I go to the dry river everything is less than in my memories.
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Book description
Jennifer Day lives in a small Australian mining town full of secrets. After the sudden death of her teenage sister Beth, Jennifer uncovers a blue cardboard box of her sister's possessions — a black rubber-band bracelet, a silver necklace with a half-a-broken-heart pendant, an address written in a leftward-slanting hand on a scrap of paper, and ballet slippers wrapped in their laces.

Why couldn't Jennifer — or anyone else — save Beth? Their parents blame Beth's friends and themselves, and Jennifer's eccentric grandmother is convinced that Beth had been communing with angels. Jennifer isn't sure what to believe. With the help of her best friend, she tries to piece together the final months of her sister's life using the clues in the box. But what she finds are mysteries, miracles, and more questions.

In a novel that is as unexpectedly funny as it is wise, debut author Karen Foxlee weaves an unforgettable story about one girl's failure to cross the threshold into adulthood and the disintegration of a family in the face of tragedy.

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After the suicide of her troubled teenage sister, eleven-year-old Jenny struggles to understand what actually happened.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0702236160, 0702236985

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