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Book Review: Fractalistic by Gerardo Delgadillo

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FractalisticFractalistic by Gerardo Delgadillo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The title and the cover of this book are the initial reasons someone would feel compelled to pick it up and learn more. I say that because it’s eye-catching and pushes a person to wonder more deeply what it could be about. Would there be the potential for science-fiction or fantastical elements? I had little knowledge of the subject matter of fractals, but I was familiar with the author’s work, as I’ve read (and very much enjoyed) two of his other books. I assumed the tale would have something to do with a ‘broken’ young adult and that it would focus on Mexican heritage (based on cover and past styles — the author excels in these settings)! But what I read was so much more… and I’m excited to share my thoughts on it today.

Winter, ~17ish American girl, moves to Mexico with her parents, searching for a cure for her mother’s illness. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work, and her mother passes away. Winter and her father struggle to overcome the pain and loss. The book starts after the death, so we learn much of this in back story. The struggle is clear and obvious through the lack of words and emotion, brittle arguments, and abrasive moments between the two characters — all done in a beautiful and heartfelt way. Winter then meets some new friends at school, something she was reluctant to allow because the last time she trusted her friends, they all abandoned her when her mother had gotten sick. She’s been through a lot, but she is strong and pushes through the swirl around her. Winter is a fine balance of a young girl in need of love and guidance and a soon-to-be adult who is mature beyond her years.

Delgadillo lets us stir in confusion for a little while, trying to understand the mysterious fractals that her father is working on. All we know is that they are a way to communicate with his deceased wife, Winter’s mom. They both want to see her again, whether it’s real or spiritual, but we can clearly tell it’s affecting them differently. Her father is angry and forceful to get Winter on board with trying harder to connect with her mom. We think he’s being too aggressive, but there are reasons beyond what we know at the time. This is where we feel the fantastical elements, and it’s a startling and beautiful moment of bliss and pain — what if it actually works?

By midway, Winter’s developed friends, even a boyfriend of sorts. He has his own issues. It’s with her new best girl friend that Winter finds an intriguing connection, as her mother is also interested in the research Winter’s father is conducting. We see the relationships grow among each of the people in Winter’s life, all the while knowing something else is going on beyond what we’ve been told. It’s not easy to figure out, and when it hits you about 75% through the book, you’ll stop and need to take a breath. Our beloved characters are far worse off than we realized, but we feel even more enamored with them, hoping they can make the fractals work.

Delgadillo tells a poignant story. With several parts using Spanish (and enough English translations in the text to make the points clear), we have a different layer to the story. It’s not just a typical family we might know; it’s a family with different cultural beliefs, heritages, stories, and interpretations of life and death. I loved seeing these aspects in the book, as I felt it made the story even stronger. Winter is not a typical young adult, but in many ways, she is exactly the type of kid we’ve all seen somewhere along the path. Take away the science-fiction and ‘death’ turbulence in her life, she is going through all the normal things teenagers do… relocation, making new friends, dating a boy/girl for the first time, dealing with parental issues, etc.

Kudos to Delgadillo for a multi-dimensional story with tons of emotional peaks that will make you quite glad you took a chance on this one!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Aggravated Momentum by Didi Oviatt

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It’s been a while since I read a gory thriller, but when I picked up Aggravated Momentum by Didi Oviatt, I knew I would be thrust in the middle of something deliciously vicious. Did you see that cover? Blood, death and pain. And does this book deliver! Earlier this year I read another one of her thrillers, and while it was definitely an intense ride, this one was even more of a suspenseful punch… probably because we actually hear thoughts occurring in the serial killer’s head a few times. But perhaps my favorite part of this book was sharing it as a buddy read with my friend, Dani, an amazing book reviewer and blogger I love chatting with!

The book starts out a little scary… Markie, a young woman, is hurting over the vicious murder of her best friend from ~18 months earlier, trying to bond with her sister and find her new place in the world. She even goes on a blind date with a setup assembled by her late best friend’s parents who’ve come to think of her as their own daughter now. And it helps, given Markie’s own mother is a bit eccentric. Markie and her sister, Kam, setup a signal code so if the date is going poorly, Markie has an easy out. During the date, the signal goes off and Markie is disappointed, as she liked the guy. But when her sister calls with a fake emergency, it’s not actually fake. Thus, the chase kicks off in the books and we’re treated to a rotation of narrators from the killer, Markie, her family and a few other critical players.

aggraavted

Oviatt is fantastic at delivering the creepy, page-turning horror that pulls you in and kicks you out (from fear!) many times over. Whether it’s a description of the violence, the freakishly lucid yet nonsensical mind of a serial killer, or the palpitating fear readers witness when the main character is being stalked, it’s an intense journey. Casually dropping in the fear factor is a specialty of Oviatt, i.e. her reveal about how the killer is picking off his or her victims somewhere around 20% into the book. And you’re left thinking… yikes, how will anyone survive! But it’s when we learn the final twist that my eyes popped out of their sockets. Are you serious, Oviatt? I will NEVER be alone with you at this point… and I mean that in a you’re awesome, but you’ve got such bubbling creativity in that masterful mind of yours kinda way.

Characters are well drawn. I loved seeing the relationships between all the key players, but that ending! You’ve closed the loops on all the big things, but you’ve left quite a few open in the mid to small range that have us still wondering and thinking about this book. There’s gotta be a sequel in the works… it could still go so many ways. I hope you’ve got some sort of trickery up your sleeve as I want more on this wild adventure. One thing I’ve come to count on with Oviatt’s books is a strong story, crazy and deceitful characters, a massive twisty-turny road, and a realistic setting. It’s a methodical build where she ramps up at just the right pace, then the shock hits when you don’t expect it. But it makes you all the more focused and alert as you can’t help but squint and mistrust everyone at that point. So… how long do we have to wait for the next one?

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.