Only Ever Always

Only Ever Always

2.0 1
by Penni Russon
     
 

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Have you ever woken from a dream feeling it was more real than your world? Could there be someone exactly like you living another life? Claire lives in an ordinary world where everything is whole. But now she feels broken into pieces as her world is suddenly shattered with grief. The silvery notes of her music box help her escape from her pain into a dream world, into

Overview

Have you ever woken from a dream feeling it was more real than your world? Could there be someone exactly like you living another life? Claire lives in an ordinary world where everything is whole. But now she feels broken into pieces as her world is suddenly shattered with grief. The silvery notes of her music box help her escape from her pain into a dream world, into Clara's world. Clara's world has always been broken. Her fragmented life revolves around scavenging and swapping objects to survive. She is determined to face the sinister side of her cracked reality to save the only family she has ever known. But the cost may be more than she bargained for. Though Claire and Clara live in different worlds, their paths are set to collide when the people they love most are faced with death. But which world is the dream? Who is the dreamer? Penni Russon has written a spellbinding tale that stretches the imagination about what is possible.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
10/01/2013
Gr 8 Up—After 13-year-old Claire receives the news that her beloved Uncle Charlie is in the hospital, she retreats into sleep and the escape of her dreams. Clara lives in a shadowy, dystopian reflection of this world, alone but for a friend who cares for her and her romantic relationship with a street-savvy boy. Both girls are dealt harsh blows that each must face in order to move on. They are connected by a music box that allows them to interact with each other and the separate realms they inhabit. This fantasy novel is imaginative, thought-provoking, and unique. The story switches back and forth between the two protagonists, keeping the plot moving and giving readers a chance to see how their stories respond to each other's. As Clara struggles to survive in her depleted world, Claire is working through her emotions and moving into young adulthood, losing her innocence and gaining more knowledge of herself. Clara is the vehicle she uses to do so, but Clara is a well-formed character in her own right. The viewpoint switches are abrupt but the connections between the girls' lives become clearer as the book continues. Overall this novel is distinctive and refreshing.—Elizabeth Jakubowski, formerly at Watervliet Public Library, NY
From the Publisher
"Like the sound of the little loved music box that is so pivotal to the story, Only Ever Always is both deeply touching and strangely eerie, leaving the reader with a mixture of warmth and apprehension, yearning and wonder—about death, life, language, art, dreams and childhood. Fascinating and absolutely memorable."  —Ursula Dubosarsky, author, The Word Snoop
Kirkus Reviews
This odd, convoluted fable feels incomplete and isn't an easy read, but its haunting imagery has staying power. Claire's first treasure was the music box Uncle Charlie gave her. When he's badly injured in a car accident he's unlikely to survive, Claire retreats into a world that mirrors her own. Everything and everyone in this looking-glass world is broken, including the music box that Clara, Claire's counterpart, buys with an IOU. Here, Claire escapes and eventually comes to terms with violent mortality. Its dwellings, like dollhouses, lack walls; denizens buy and sell broken detritus in a city broken in half by a wild, widening river. The powerful conceit almost sustains the novel but can't replace what's missing: characters readers care about. Readers never meet Charlie or see him interact with Claire, so what his loss means to her remains unclear, blunting the impact of her fugue. Readers aren't allowed to find their bearings in Claire's world before they're plunged into Clara's broken one (populated with far more vivid characters). The style clamors for readers' attention--conceptual quirks replace chapters; narration switches among first, second and third person--further distancing them from the tale being spun. Whether readers find it brilliantly original or obscurely self-indulgent, Russon's risk-taking should spark the best kind of literary debate. (author's note) (Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780449816684
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
07/09/2013
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

PENNI RUSSON writes, edits, and teaches creative writing. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband and three children.

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Only Ever Always 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
There are two switching POVs in this book, Claire and Clara. Claire is a kinda boring character, but Clara is so much more interesting! Her storyline is great, while Claire's is.....eh. I can't relate to either of the characters. I gave this book 2 stars, because a lot of things bothered me. I actually thought of dropping it, but decided not to because I hadn't read that much. I wasn't TOO disappointed. The writing style bothered me a lot. Claire's part was written in a mix of second and third person narration. Which is as confusing as it sounds. I have decided I hate second person narration. Its like, "You got off the bed." and I'm like, "No I didn't!". Its all very confusing.  Also, Claire has to deal with her uncle dying. Yes, it is bad, and I feel awful that her uncle passed away. But Clara has to deal with her ONLY family, Andrew, dying, has to live on the streets until captured by Lady, a sinister baroness who only wants to be feared, but loved at the same time, and has a boy named Grey who wants her to run off with him. All the stress of everything Clara had to deal with was way too much! I wish the whole book was based only on Clara, as it was much more interesting.  Overall, Only Ever was not that good. I don't think I'll be reading it again, but if there is a sequel, I might pick it up. I expected quite a lot from this book, what with the lovely cover (Don't judge a book by its cover, I KNOW!) and all of the good ratings on Goodreads, but I was let down. If you still think if the synopsis is interesting, you should pick it up, and at least check it out.