Monday, April 1, 2013

Review: Being Henry David by Cal Armistead



Title: Being Henry David
Author: Cal Armistead
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company 

Publishing Date:  April 16th 2012
Pages: 270
Genre:  YA Realistic Fiction/Mystery 
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Paperback ARC provided by DAC ARC Tours

  

Seventeen-year-old "Hank" has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything --who he is, where he came from, why he's running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or "Hank" and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of--Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead's remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.....



This was a book I heard nothing about and knew nothing about except for one time reading the blurb when I signed up to review it. I thought it sounded intriguing and decided to give it a shot. I was actually pleasantly surprised with this book. I enjoyed every moment of it and just didn’t want to put it down. I love mysteries and I love realistic fiction, put the two together and it adds up to spectacular.





This story revolves around a teenage boy that wakes up in New York city with nothing but a copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau and a homeless guy who is attempting to eat his book. The boy remembers nothing about his life, age, or identity. After some time adjusting he decides to name himself Henry David and believes he is about 17-18 years old. The story follows Henry nicknamed Hank, around as he slowly puts the pieces of his life together as he regains his memory. Along the way he finds trouble, makes friends, falls for a girl, and learns who he really is.




I really loved this book. From the beginning its pretty obvious that Hank lost his memory from something traumatic, whether he did it, it was done to him, or it was some kind of accident, and that is what threw me into to the story right away. I knew from the first couple of pages that I was going to love this book. The story of Hank starts of bad and slowly progresses to worse until it finally takes a turn to the better and the entire time I was on the journey with Hank, discovery who is was, who he is, his memories, and his secrets. I found myself having a very hard time putting the book down, wanting to know more as the story progressed. Hank was an awesome main character and he met some other wonderful characters along the way. I really felt like a vagabond as I read this book. The writing and the tone were so perfect for the story, I couldn’t help but find myself lost right along with Hank.

I felt a real connection to Hank. He really was a wonderfully written character. Even though he had no thoughts of his life prior to waking up or ever the knowledge of who he was, I could see that he was boy with heart, determination, loyalty, and sense of responsibility. I liked him right away.


I enjoyed the journey Hank was on and I enjoyed meeting all the great fun and not so fun characters along the way, Jack, Nessa, Hailey, and Thomas. Out of all the supporting characters, Thomas was my favorite. I loved the way he took Hank in, gave him time, and took care of him. He was a great and needed mentor for Hank.


There is a little bit of a romance that begins, its not the center of the story but it was a sweet interruption from the mystery and hard memories that surrounded Hank, a breath of fresh air through the deep stuff. Hailey was an ok character, she was a good love interest, but I didn't seem to have enough time to really get to know her. I wish there would of been more of her in the story.


This was a well paced, very entertaining read. I loved every bit of it.





Another great mystery and realistic fiction mix. If you like either one of these genres, pick this book up. It's also a great boy book, not real girly at all.




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