blo Teens Read and Write: Water For Elephants by Joey Teare - Guest Blogger

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Water For Elephants by Joey Teare - Guest Blogger




This is exciting. Our first review by a guest blogger. Meet Joey Teare, 16-year-old long-time best friend of ours and avid reader. The review of his lastest favorite follows. Thanks, Joey!


Water For Elephants is a novel by Sarah Gruen that takes us back to the 1930's for a deep mystery on a traveling circus train. While not necessarily listed as YA, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. The book is written as a flashback as our protagonist is now an old man in a nursing home who tells his story.

Jacob Jancowski is a college student in the depression era 1930's who, after learning that his parents died in a car accident, has a break down, quits veterinary college, and runs away. With nothing but the clothes on his back, Jacob finds work on a traveling circus train. His knowledge of animal care soon lands him the job of looking after the exotic creatures of the low budget circus.

Jacob is soon befriended by August, the animal trainer, who takes Jacob under his wing and shows him the ropes. But after an incident where August shows his darker, unstable side, Jacob no longer knows who he can trust in a fight for survival. Jacob falling in love with Marlena, August's wife, adds another complication to the story.

The characters are unique, diverse and interesting if not always likeable, and the story gives you a captivating insight into the circus world. The author notes at the end of the book that many events in the story were taken from real life experiences taken from journal and diaries of old-time circus performers.

The animals are given unique personalities and you grow to love them and feel protective, just like Jacob who becomes their advocate. The relationship between Rosie, the seemingly untrainable elephant, and Jacob is especially touching.

I found Water For Elephants to be an amazing novel. Gruen's writing and imagination allow us to be enraptured by the plot. I could not put it down once I started reading. This engaging story gives readers a realistic and fascinating look at what people will do for love and survival. Jacob is a character that I was cheering for throughout the book.

If you are looking for a great summer read, Water For Elephants is the perfect choice.
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