Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Raising by Laura Kasischke

The book's synopsis from the publisher's website:

The Raising: A Novel (P.S.)
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.
I enjoyed this literary thriller thoroughly. It's my first Kasischke book so I didn't know what to expect, which is good in a way because I was pleasantly surprised. It's a very atmospheric story, the suspense is building pretty much from the very beginning and keeps the reader on the edge. I liked the characters' portrayal the most probably. Very well done. Some of them are nasty as hell and I was hoping they would get what they deserved, especially those sorority girls who thought they were above it all. Others, such as Shelly, the lesbian professor who was just the wrong person at the wrong time, or Craig, the poor boyfriend who fell for the wrong girl,  elicited a lot of sympathy and I was really rooting for them. The Raising definitely woke up a lot of different emotions in me, which I appreciated.

What I didn't appreciate and what ultimately brought the whole novel down a few notches for me was the ending. It completely threw me off  how quickly everything was wrapped up with really not much resolution or closure. Almost as if the author either got tired of writing the book and just rushed to the ending or too tangled up in the suspense and didn't know how to successfully finish it. It was very anticlimactic, felt rushed and even though I liked the whole novel,  The Raising would have been one of the top books for this year if it weren't for that dissatisfying ending.

I am willing to give Ms. Kasischke another try though, because I liked her style of writing and her skill with building the right amount of suspense. It was an altogether a pleasant experience since The Raising didn't just concentrate on the death mystery but the academia dynamics which I always find interesting, the sorority life and politics which I hate but found fascinating to read about. Let me tell you, there was a lot of injustice going on there and maybe that's why I was so disappointed with the ending, because no amount of justice was meted out at all.

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The Raising by Laura Kasischke will hit the stores this Tuesday, March 15th.

I received an e-galley of this novel via NetGalley from the publisher, HarperCollins.