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Believe by Sarah Aronson

by Sarah Aronson

Format: Kindle, ARC
Published: Sept. 1st, 2013 by Carolrhoda Books
Genre: YA, lit

Amazon | Kindle | Book Depository

"Janine Friedman is famous. She’s the miraculous ‘soul survivor’ of a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem synagogue ten years ago. The bombing killed both her parents and changed not only her life, but also that of Dave Armstrong, the tourist who dug her out of the rubble and ‘found God’ as a result. Most people can remember where they were when it happened – the image of that little girl with her bleeding, ruined hands being dragged into the light.

Ten years on, Janine just wants to forget the past, though the nightmares persist. Sure, she avoids cameras and journalists like the plague, and her hands will never be quite right, but she’s one leg of a ‘tripod’ of friends – Miriam and Abe are always there for her – and the most she’s worrying about is whether she should settle for boyfriend Dan or still go after gorgeous Tyler. 

Janine always knew the tenth anniversary would be tough. But then Abe is nearly killed in a road accident and ‘miraculously’ survives. Another boy gets out of his wheelchair and starts to walk… And the common denominator is Janine, with her supposedly healing powers.

With Dave Armstrong back in town, Janine finds herself at the centre of a media storm. Forced to look more deeply into the past, she must finally seek the truth about her parents, her hands, and the terrible day that shaped her life. What does she really believe about all three – and about herself?" -goodreads

Review (spoilers may ensue)

“Get this straight: I am a victim, not a celebrity.” (loc. 39)

I'm not all too sure what to think. Parts of the story was interesting, some parts seemed too unrealistic and other parts were a little unexciting. In all, this book was just downright depressing. Nothing turns out right, and yet somehow Janine still found faith. I suppose it could be the process of everything (even if every choice she made did blow up in her face) that made her "believe" but it really didn't seem like the book as an intrinsic whole would make it's reader "believe." Nothing out of the normal happens & Janine who felt all she had were ugly hands is still Janine who feels all she has is ugly hands,  just with a changed attitude of wanting to cooperate with the press & use her fame to do good. I really wouldn't trust her opinion or decisions on what's "good" since EVERYTHING turns out for the worst in this book. She even lost ALL of her friends and her boyfriend. It was all very anti-climactic.

“Seeing was supposed to be believing, but in reality, when it stared you in the face, seeing was confusing.” (loc.639)

Janine really came off as whiny and self centered and in the end she was just less whiny and still self centered with little reversions of 'oh yes I must remember to not be self centered at right this moment.' Although through all her character flaws, I still believe her friends acted wrongly. I mean their reasonings, although just at the time, is not worth whatever friendship they had. These people are graduating high schoolers, not kindergartener's.

“There should be a law. If you cared about someone, just say it. Tell the truth and don’t play chicken. Life is too short to be so ugly.” (loc. 285)

After reading Believe, I didn’t feel empowered, or look at anything in a different way, the book was too depressing for that. I wish the author would have at least given one thing a happy ending. In all it was too anti-climactic, lagged a great deal in the middle and I do not believe the story was executed well enough to have the desired message come across. The book has potential for a meaningful piece, but it just didn’t do anything for me.

“I was here. Waiting. Still looking for a little bit of peace. Still looking for an explanation. A justification. A reason why so many terrible things have happened. I’m waiting for a sign. I may not cry, but I’m open to anything you’ve got!” (loc. 425)

First Line: “You never really knew me.” (loc. 27)
Last Line: “Next time, I would be ready.” (loc. 2724)


“‘When I see your scars, I see the map of God.’” (loc. 1953)

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart. The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” (loc. 2481)

Galley provided by NetGalley via Lerner Publishing Group: Carolrhoda Books

*Quotes are from uncorrected advanced galleys and may change before going to press. Please refer to the final printed book for official quotes.

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