Review | Althea and Oliver by Cristina Moracho

Althea & Oliver

Format: Harcover, 366 Pages
Published: October 9th 2014
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
ISBN: 9780670785391
Age Range: 15+
Rating: 4/5
Buy It Now:   or on Audio

What if you live for the moment when life goes off the rails—and then one day there’s no one left to help you get it back on track?

Althea Carter and Oliver McKinley have been best friends since they were six; she’s the fist-fighting instigator to his peacemaker, the artist whose vision balances his scientific bent. Now, as their junior year of high school comes to a close, Althea has begun to want something more than just best-friendship. Oliver, for his part, simply wants life to go back to normal, but when he wakes up one morning with no memory of the past three weeks, he can’t deny any longer that something is seriously wrong with him. And then Althea makes the worst bad decision ever, and her relationship with Oliver is shattered. He leaves town for a clinical study in New York, resolving to repair whatever is broken in his brain, while she gets into her battered Camry and drives up the coast after him, determined to make up for what she’s done.

Their journey will take them from the rooftops, keg parties, and all-ages shows of their North Carolina hometown to the pool halls, punk houses, and hospitals of New York City before they once more stand together and face their chances. Set in the DIY, mix tape, and zine culture of the mid-1990s, Cristina Moracho’s whip-smart debut is an achingly real story about identity, illness, and love—and why bad decisions sometimes feel so good.

 I loved this book, for me, it was the kind of book that I didn’t want to end. Moracho wrote a heart wrenching but honest tale of growing up.
Althea is in love with her best friend Oliver. She waits patiently for Oliver to express any interest in her, she supports and loves him despite everything his illness does to him. While he was sleeping she was alone and had to fight the loneliness, and leave her comfort zone to meet new people.
Oliver has an illness that causes him to sleep away large chunks of the year. During this time of sleep he has no recollection of the things that he does, no matter how fun or terrible the acts may have been.
Together, the two desperately try to keep their relationship the same, Oliver trying not to blame Althea for being normal and Althea had tried being patient with both versions of Oliver’s personality. The POV changes worked for this book. Both characters capture your senses and the switches between views were timed well, they didn’t irritate me as often as they normally do. It gave you insight on each of their feelings and understanding of the hows and whys they were reacting the way they were.
Althea and Oliver are both dealing with realistic problems, and have difficulty seeing the others perspective and pain. I was impressed with the growth of both characters and their relationship throughout the story.
Althea description of how she wishes growing up happened, so she could skip the difficult parts of making difficult choices and finding your way:
The idea of young Althea retiring and
the adult Althea emerging from a toy box.
Adult Althea would already be equipped
with good judgement and large breasts.
This book was beautifully written, but it has some pretty graphic content. The situations being faced are honest and sometimes hurtful. Moracho made really tough decisions and never took the easy way out, I can’t wait to see what else she writes.

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