The Opposite of Hallelujah: Review
When I first started this book I expected a story about sibling rivalry and maybe a mystery surrounding Hannah which would be the main driving force behind the story — that’s not what I got. BUT, that’s not a bad thing. This was one of those times when my expectations weren’t met and I was delivered something that I ended up enjoying.
Caro (Carolina) has lived most of her life without her sister, Hannah. Hannah went away twelve years ago to join a convent (don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler — it’s revealed very early in the book). Caro never understood why Hannah would leave her, and she’s spent most of her life pretending her sister was never coming back. In fact, she even told her classmates that her sister was dead — a story that landed her in big trouble at home. When Hannah leaves the convent to live at home again, Caro’s lies begin to crumble around her. Despite her annoyance with her sister, Caro is a little worried about her and begins to seek answers from unlikely sources. What she discovers may just save both of them.
As I said earlier, this book wasn’t what I was expecting at all, but that’s a good thing. The book touches a lot on faith and religion (though it never felt preachy as much as informative). I suppose this may have been left out of the synopsis so as not to turn readers off. I can assure you that this is not a book about religion so much as a book that contains religion as a plot point. I actually found it quite interesting.
I feel like I need to point out that Caro is not a likable character. She lies and acts out and makes some bad choices. While I wasn’t exactly fond of her, she was intriguing. I just wish her character had gone through more of a transformation. She didn’t change as much as I felt she could have. Though Caro is the main character in the novel, Hannah’s story was the main focus. I actually found myself more intrigued by Hannah and I almost wish the book had been told from her point of view. Then again, had it been, it wouldn’t have fallen into the YA category (Hannah is in her 20′s) and I think maybe the slight distance from Hannah added a little more intrigue.
Another refreshing thing about the book was the romance. I was ready to roll my eyes when Pawal came into the picture. He was the new boy who develops an immediate crush on Caro. Their relationship grew at a natural pace though, and while I do feel Pawal was more of a device than a fully fleshed out character, he did play an important part in Caro’s story.
My only real complaint is that the book is a long one and there were several places were I wished it would just pick up and go. Once things started falling into place, the pace picked up. I just wish it had done so about 200 pages sooner.
All in all it’s a good story, and if you don’t mind a slower pace, I would definitely recommend it.