Friday, October 1, 2010

The View from the Top by Hillary Frank

Eighteen-year-old Anabelle’s last few months in her coastal hometown are bittersweet. Instead of the quiet precollege summer she expects, Anabelle makes some surprising discoveries about herself as she navigates romantic entanglements and changing friendships. Through shifting points of view in seven interconnected stories, we glimpse the limits of how well her friends really know Anabelle . . . and how little she grasps about the way they see her.

With wry observations and quirky humor, critically acclaimed novelist Hillary Frank gives voice and depth to six unique characters whose stories intertwine to form a complete picture of one shared summer
                                                     {taken from}

I must admit, the cover of this book is what first grabbed my attention.  I love the simplicity of the title and the scene set below it.  Isn't it beautiful?  This story begins right in the middle of it all.  Hillary Frank does not waste time setting up the story.  When I started reading the first few pages I had to stop & think.. did I miss something? like the beginning of the story?  I was a little taken back by how quickly she jumped in to things.  But as the story progressed I was thankful for it.  Sometimes I get annoyed with all the huff & puff and just want to get on with the storyline.  So if that's your thing - then you will definitely enjoy how this book starts out.

The narrative is based around the character Anabelle; however the point of view is shifted between her, her egocentric boyfriend Matt, her boyfriend's best friend Jonah (who happens to be my favorite), Anabelle's sexually confused best friend Lexi, the lovable Tobin who happens to be in love with Anabelle, and the new girl Mary-Tyler visiting for the summer.  It sounds complicated, but the shift in narration is smooth & it actually gives more to the story.  Some of the topics discussed in this book are pretty raw & in your face.  Frank does not hold back.  Such topics are teenage sex, drug use, and homosexuality.  I did not feel offended by these topics & I felt like Frank did a good job of showing the truth about it.  It exists.  It's real people.  Teenagers use drugs & have sex!

As the story unfolds we discover that Anabelle is using this summer as a reason to discover herself, a part from all the relationships in her life that have somehow defined her all through out high school.  But in doing so she realizes that she must end her relationship with her high school sweetheart Matt before she moves away to college.  She also discovers that Jonah, Matt's best friend is on her mind a little too much.  Is it something to pursue? or is she just attracted to the bad-boy image most girls fall for?  There is also her friend Lexi to consider.  Though Frank never leads us to believe that Anabelle knows about her sexuality, we still witness it from Lexi's point of view.  Then the ever-so loving Tobin.  He represents the dorky shy guy that every girl should date in high school, but never does.

As Frank tells this story from different points of view, it is ultimately Anabelle's "view from the top" that we discover in the end.  I recommend this book if you are looking for a quick read.  It held my attention for the time being & I did enjoy it; however, it is not full of heavy substance that it will remain with you after the pages have been closed.


  1. Another book to add to my list! Thanks for the review. I'll be checking it out soon.

  2. I've wanted to read this one since it came out. I'm drawn to the cover too. If yo haven't read it yet, check out Frank's first book, Better Than Running at Night.


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