I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Land of 10,000 Madonnas by Kate Hattemer
Published by Random House Children's Books on April 19th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Europe, Social Themes, Death & Dying, Friendship
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Five teens backpack through Europe to fulfill the mysterious dying wish of their friend in this heartwarming novel from the author of The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy. Jesse lives with his history professor dad in a house covered with postcards of images of the Madonna from all over the world. They're gotten used to this life: two motherless dudes living among thousands of Madonnas. But Jesse has a heart condition that will ultimately cut his life tragically short. Before he dies, he arranges a mysterious trip to Europe for his three cousins, his best friend, and his girlfriend to take after he passes away. It's a trip that will forever change the lives of these young teens and one that will help them come to terms with Jesse's death. With vivid writing, poignant themes, and abundant doses of humor throughout, Kate Hattemer's second novel is a satisfying journey about looking for someone else's answers only to find yourself.
I loved Hattemer’s writing. It is gorgeous. Her words flow together, and you get wrapped up in them, and don’t realize how much time has gone by. The way she writes emotion is amazing. You can feel the words as you read them.
I really enjoyed the trip aspect of this book. Going on a quest to find someone. But maybe they can find each other by the end. They experience all these things that they would have loved to experience with Jesse, but sometimes that’s not how things work out. Sometimes you have only those with you to lean on, and the memory of a loved one is a great thing even if they can’t be there.
I had a love/hate relationship with the characters. A lot of the time they are almost unlikable. They have ways they respond to problems that had me puzzled, and they seemed so selfish at times. This was usually Lillian and Cal. They are guarded and don’t want to share their experiences and times with Jesse. Ben needs to learn to let go of control. He doesn’t have to be the grown up all the time. He should sit back and enjoy the moment. Trevor needs to grow up a little. But I loved his carefree attitude. He takes everything as it comes and tries to bring out the positives in any situation. Matt… all I hope for him is that he realizes who he is, and doesn’t let fear keep him in it’s grip.
Even though I didn’t click with the characters at all times, I found times where I adored them. Coping with loss takes a different form in each and every person, and we come through it in our own way.