The Raising by Laura Kasischke
Review by: Lauren
Copy From: Publisher
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Official Summary: Last year Godwin Honors Hall was draped in black. The university was mourning the loss of one of its own: Nicole Werner, a blond, beautiful, straight-A sorority sister tragically killed in a car accident that left her boyfriend, who was driving, remarkably—some say suspiciously—unscathed.
Although a year has passed, as winter begins and the nights darken, obsession with Nicole and her death reignites: She was so pretty. So sweet-tempered. So innocent. Too young to die.
Unless she didn’t.
Because rumor has it that she’s back.
Review: The Raising is a bit of a feat to get through. Part of that is its size, as it is quite long, but most of that comes from the fact that it's just so jammed pack with so many emotions. There is the overreaching story that concerns Nicole Werner and her mysterious death...but that's not all. There is love, hate, jealousy, anger, happiness...just so so much!!
The book goes through various point of views, which I loved. It reminded me of Jodi Picoult in that regard except The Raising has even more than Picoult's usual two. First, you have Craig...Nicole's boyfriend and who people are calling her murderer. Then, you have Perry...he grew up with Nicole, went to college and became roommates with Craig. He's also one of the few people on Craig's side after the accident. Then there is Mira, a professor at the college and someone who Perry enlists to help him figure out the mystery of Nicole's death. Finally, we get Shelly and the reason I'm posting this review at Let's Get Beyond Tolerance. She works in the music department and had Josie (Nicole's roommate) as a work-study student after the car wreck. Josie somehow finds her way into Shelly's bed...but not everything is bliss.
All four of these people always were or become connected to Nicole somehow, and because of that, their lives are forever changed. It was fascinating to get inside the minds and lives of all these men and women. It isn't just about Nicole, especially with the two women: Mira and Shelly. But somehow, it all comes back to Nicole.
Is Nicole dead? Is she hiding out at her sorority's house? Is she haunting Craig, Perry...? It's hard to tell. The questions and mysteries just keep piling up as you read and I found myself desperate for answers. I can't say everything is wrapped up nice and neat at the end. I suppose we really wouldn't want that. I know I wouldn't. At first, there were things I was upset about. I wanted to throw the book against the wall for different reasons. But it's just...it's life. Not everything is perfect or pretty...especially not when all is said and done.
As for the characters, I love that they aren't perfect...anything. They aren't perfectly good or perfectly bad. They all make mistakes, they all seem to let other things take over in their lives...It's real though. It's not some make-believe faiy tale where everything always goes well. Get the girl, all is great. Get the job, all is wonderful. It doesn't happen that way. It's give and take, it's work, work work. It's pain and hurt and triumph and success.
I just really loved this novel. It's something that would generate many discussions. It's definitely a great book club book. I just wish I knew if author Kasischke has all the answers I'm dying to know...not that she'd give them up I'm sure.
YA Level (again, this is not a book rating. It's how YA-appropriate the book is): 6/7 out of 10. 10 out of 10 is perfect YA!