We used this for our neighborhood book group. It was very discussable, if you know what I mean. It takes a bit to get past Pessl's unusual style of writing, but then the plot just clicks along. Plot twists and surprises keep you wanting to find out how it all ends. Very unique book.
I was somewhat disappointed with the pacing of this book. I bought it in hardback based on good critical reviews, but I found the first 350 pages difficult to get through. Much of the first two thirds of the book is spent developing characters, and not much of significance happens as far as plot. However, the author's writing style and some of the characters were interesting enough that I plodded on. During the last 100 or so pages I was glad I stuck with it. The end of the book is exciting and full of surprises. I just wish the pacing were more even throughout the story.... I thought many times about giving up during the early chapters.
Wow - great read! Don't give up after the first couple of chapters. It may take you a while to understand Blue's world, but once you do - you won't want to leave. It's the kind of book that you'll be thinking about for days after - putting it all together.
This is a tremendous look at the world of a dispossessed teen, who somehow gets a free pass to popularity. Or it seems free. At first.
Fantastic book! It's a mystery but a completely different kind of mystery than anything I've ever read before. What a treat! The ending is something that I absolutely did not see coming. The story revolves around young Blue Van Meer who is entering her senior year of high school after having spent a gypsy like lifestyle with her college professor father. She enters an exclusive private school and is befriended by a group of teens known as the Bluebloods with their mentor, a film teacher named Hannah. The Bluebloods rule the school and have weekly dinner soirees with Hannah. Blue doesn't know why she has been included in their clique and doesn't know how to fit in with them. Hannah is quite a mystery and the kids try their own private investigation to find out what the truth really is about their unusual teacher. The things that end up happening are where the Calamity Physics come in. Don't miss this wonderful novel.
This is the most original book I've read in a long time. I love Blue van Meer's narration and the different "visual aids" spread through the book. The author's website has additional materials that are fun and insightful. The "cliff's notes" on the website are a real gem!
Good characterization, very nice surprise ending, but poor pacing; takes over 300 pages to really get going, and some of the surprise comes from information the reader (but to be fair, also the narrating character) does not know. Overall, I don't regret having read the book, but I don't plan to read it again.
I really wanted to like and to relate this book however,it struck me as too whiny for my taste. The writing is capable but the descriptions are repetitous and become boring. I waited at least 50 pages for the writer to come to the point and almost thought she would but then she went off in the same direction again. Life is too short for this.
This is an excellent book. It's the story of Blue Van Meer and her quest to solve the mystery of Hannah Schneider's death. The autopsy calls her death a suicide. But is that the truth? We never get a definitive answer when it comes to this question; however, the fact that there is a Final Exam makes up for that. There is no answer key when it comes to the exam, so personal interpretation is the important thing. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes mysteries and doesn't care if there's a logical explanation for everything.
Silvia B. reviewed Special Topics in Calamity Physics on
The reviews for this book were so high when it came out that it has been on my list for years. I had trouble finishing it though. Had the author avoided all the tangential material (references, reminiscing) and focused on the story it might have worked. Instead, it was, at times, difficult to get through, and the ending seemed completely disconnected from the rest of the book. A unique approach to writing that I feel did not work well at all.
Really enjoyable, if a little slow in spots. The last half is great, but I wasn't entirely in love with the resolution. This book kept me very good company when I was stuck in my hotel room with the flu at Disney World. Not perfect, but still a very good read.
Best book I've read all year--where has it been? You have to be a fairly erudite well-read person yourself to get most of the references in it, but that being said...it was fantastic. A mystery or a coming of age story, or both? It was dazzling. I plan to re-read it.