❮Reading❯ ➶ Alyzon WhiteStarr ➮ Author Isobelle Carmody – Peakpopa.info
Alyzon WhitestarrIsobelle CarmodyPublisher Ford Street Publishing first published by Penguin Group Format PaperbackISBN 9781925272185Reviewer Tim HarrisOne of my favourite things about non realist fiction is the capacity it gives writers to use fantastical elements to express nebulous, intangible concepts In Alyzon Whitestarr, Isobelle Carmody does this very well, presenting a nuanced exploration of human nature and our equal capacity for both good and evil through the lens of Alyzon s heightened senses, all the while telling a great, suspenseful story.The narrative s pacing is spot on There s always something to keep the pages turning, be it mystery and intrigue, character drama, or thriller like suspense, but the story never feels unfocused The prose itself is also very good It reads well, and the odd combination of Alyzon s practicality which often leaves her rolling her eyes at the antics of those less firmly grounded in reality with her often poetic way of thinking provides for both clever lines and great imagery Carmody s use of symbolism is subtle enough that it doesn t get in the way of the story, without being so subtle as to be wasted.Carmody does a great job of the balancing act of making her characters both distinctive and complex The fantastic is again deployed to great effect here, summing up each character s essence in a few images, and most characters also have some quirk that gives readers an easily memorable handle to remember them by A lesser writer might leave it at that, but Carmody combines this with a depth of characterisation that really brings her characters to life and makes them feel real This complexity provides a stark contrast to those characters which Carmody presents as distinctly unreal These seem uncannily one dimensional, as if they are expressions of the metaphysical malaise the narrative centres upon than they are humans Alyzon Whitestarr is an extremely enjoyable read It is rare that a story combines nuance and accessibility so well I would recommend it for readers aged fourteen and up who aren t afraid to ask difficult questions regarding the human condition. Still love this book isobelle carmody is one of my all time favourites her work is unique and special. This story was captivating for me, and as well as being exciting and fun to read, I thought it had really important underlying questions about the way people interact and how they re motivated, and lamenting a sort of sickness that seems to permeate society I just love the way that those messages are woven through a story about a girl with extended almost psychic senses Those sorts of stories are usually very introverted and self centred, so this is the most wonderful portrayal I ve seen of powers that allow people to see beyond their own mind, because in this story Alyzon s sudden acquisition of powers actually lead her to learn about the world and reach into it I love reading this, again and again and again. This dog doesn t just rely on his sense of smell He can hear what a total butt people are without bending down to sniff em.Isobelle Carmody s Alyzon Whitestarr was sometimes good, it could have been great if only it had been balanced where it placed blame, less hysterical in its wrongs and all the rights that I d never place Scott Baio in charge of now, if I had teenaged daughters Hell, if it at least stuck to its own blood flow okay, I admit I was thinking it didn t fit with how I see the world That s what I was really thinking, and what I really mean I just didn t wanna sound like I m playing god with my fictional mind people I totally am I liked it It s an original I cannot think of another book about quasi mind aura reading through the power of smells , and yet does what some of the best stories do and sometimes go into the real life and family of the character telling the story Alyzon That whole thing about originality needing to be recognizable or no one will, um, recognize it that I ve heard a lot What s the smell equivalent of black and white If it smells like shit Covering up your shit in the end with bad perfume, blah blah I m sure there are some better cliches that I don t know about.The idea of reading through smells instead of thoughts is an intriguing one I don t always articulate my feelings through thoughts, and certainly not all of the time ahem, and sometimes I m paranoid that someone is reading my mind What if the person were thinking of what to make for dinner right before they were going to massively screw you over It makes sense that Alyzon would get a better reading of feelings through smells, in that case Now good bad person is a murkier issue I appreciated that it was a sinister quality This part fits in with my view That s good.However, I m a little disturbed and worried about Alyzon s sister It is hard to believe that she is going to be able to come back from what she tries to do to her father The ending is too tidied up for me to swallow That s where Alyzon s sense of a person through smells breaks down for me It can t be that easy How can you really know what is in a person s heart You still can t use it to predict the future The light could just as easily switch off again Take a woman who is going to leave her abusive husband, for example, or a cowed man who is going to stand up for himself in his life and job, only to slink back down again Also, little sis was a complete bitch to the other senses Even Pollyanna would have known something was up even Pollyanna played by Hayley Mills My twin and I loathed Hayley Mills in The Parent Trap We were expected to sing that Let s get together song for the evil adults What were the teens in this book complaining about Alyzon was an ordinary girl in a family of special people if you believe that specialness comes from abilities only I don t Mama is an artist, daddy is a musician The other kids in the family take after the parents in their artistic endeavors Alyzon doesn t She goes to school, has friends and cares about those people, if she doesn t yet have a sense for what is underneath the skin One day she goes into a coma and doesn t come out of it for a month When she awakes, she perceives the world in a different way It s the same world, only she now has smells to use to put names to what she didn t understand before Black feelings, secret love, fear and worry, the whole rainbow spectrum of emotions The rest of the people in her life seem content to ignore it Not in the assuming Everybody cares as I do old Alyzon way, but It s too hard so I m not gonna bother coasting way The family had to have known something was up with their sister The scariest insight is into that sister, Serenity Serenity insists on being called Sybl Sybl is of a split personality like the famous multiple personality lady Sybil , if definitely a concious decision she probably saw the 70s tv movie Sybil starring Sally Field Not Without My Daughter was the Sally Field tv movie of choice in my house Healthier Make no mistake about it, the mean girl knew exactly what she was doing She made the choice to set out and destroy anything good in her life, ruthlessly killing Serenity Alyzon tries to reach out, but the kiddo has the most fucked up reasoning ever and blames Alyzon for being able to not hate the entire world for what someone else did It is Alyzon and their father s fault that the Australian government sent their refugee friend back home to certain slaughter Being a musician, he writes a song about it to convey the feelings of sadness and frustration the best way he can That wasn t good enough for Sybil Serenity So she becomes a terrorist I ve always HATED it that the people I know who preach about the injustices of life seem to always assign themselves the role of informing everyone else about it the easiest and flashiest role Sybil did the exact same thing, only she chose the sickest form She becomes a terrorist and wants to kill their father in a big public concert display That s still sending a message, giving herself the job of telling everyone else about it Hating their father for not doing anything else than the telling was insane thinking That s all I m saying Instead of Poor Sybil they should ve slapped her silly for being such a raging bitch and that s just for the light stuff.The fact that she got to the point of being a TERRORIST and would have killed their father if Alyzon had not been able to stop her was not something the ending could have fixed If Alyzon smelled something nicer off of her, it was that the choices was taken out of her hands How did she get to that point in the first place I don t believe that one incident causes a person to fall off the brink into cruel insanity all by itself Their willingness to ignore the signs helped, and that they still do it is a bad sign.Another facet of Alyzon Whitestarr was the evil man behind the curtain, man artist collector, producer, etc What exactly is a producer, anyway William Goldman of The Princess Bride fame said in his fantastic Adventures in the Screentrade that a producer is the man who buys things like a story to make into a script , or puts the team together He s the money The baddie of Whitestarr is supposedly the producer of the sickest emotions He feeds off of human despair and then packages it as cd, art, book, whatever If there was a person with a speck of talent, he sucks them dry and then uses them to spread the seeds of his agenda to the populace Hey, like Michael Bay I m cynical but I m not THAT cynical They make it cause people buy it Now they are pulling a Sybil and placing undue blame on shoulders to avoid addressing their own feelings This one big bad guy couldn t have purchased the souls of Sybil, their artist friends, tried it on Alyzon s mom once, and then on her father If they sold out for a chance at success, the choice was theirs.The problem was placing too much emphasis on artistic talent to begin with I m with Alyzon of the beginning you don t have to contribute a beautiful message to be beautiful The job is not being the one to tell everyone about it Live and be good Fail and try again.Alyzon s love interest was your typical thrown in at the last second useful for exposition investigation guy from 1990 s ya I kinda miss when the guys did that research is cool and weren t supernatural freaks.Sequel ideas She teams up with whatever Wayan was in Senseless The best line the only good line in that film is when Matthew Lillard had a gay period You try watching Brad Pitt in Interview with the Vampire and not getting conflicted List That would have been a good time to say something like I smell a list coming on I suck Super powers for the other senses 1 Sight Teen fashion will be a cry for help Emulating the 80s Something is wrong with Susan 2 Hearing Baker act those Justin Bieber fans.3 Touch I ll let Scott Baio handle this one.4 Taste Too much processed foods I got nothing.5 I see dead people.P.s The title is really stupid and it is really annoying to remember to spell it Alyzon. Reviewed by Breia The Brain Brickey for TeensReadToo.comAlyzon isn t like the other people in her family She wasn t born with a special gift, and she thought that she would always be the ordinary one in a family of super talented people When she experiences an accident that gives her powers of her own, Alyzon realizes there is going on than what she initially figured.Her new power enhances her senses so that colors are vibrant, her memory is the best it s ever been, and her sense of smell is better than all of her other senses Excitement and intrigue follow Alyzon as she tries to figure out exactly what her powers can be used for.Will these changes help or harm her family ALYZON WHITESTARR by Isobelle Carmody is one of those books that you will want to reread over and over again, with wonderfully written characters who make you feel like they are part of your own family Ms Carmody shows her readers what it s like to be the oddball in the family, but makes it enjoyable every step of the way Definitely a 5 star read. I have mixed feelings about this book Parts of it I loved and parts of it were so frustrating I wanted to tear my hair out I guessed every plot twist which has never happened before I wanted to scream at the main character because she would have these profound thoughts then not be able to piece the simplest thing together It was maddening I loved the loyalty and the love she had for her friends and her family, but that wasn t enough to make up for the things that just went wrong with the book. This fantasy has an excellent premise What if all animals, including people, emitted all sorts of information, from emotions to basic messages to the nature of their very essences, that humans can no longer sense Perhaps early in our evolutionary past, these messages were an essential means of communication, but as we developed complex language and society, we gradually lost the ability to smell each other.After bumping her head, teenaged Alyzon falls into a month long coma When she comes out of it, she possesses not only the ability to smell the emotions and essences of people and animals, but also a heightened awareness and understanding of the world that most people don t She soon realizes that, although some people smell better than others, there are some, including a good looking classmate, who just smell wrong It s not long before Alyzon and some new, pleasantly scented friends are involved in a dangerous battle against a sinister disease like Wrongness that is bent on infecting as many people as possible in order to warp and darken their souls.Anyone who has stared at a stranger in a crowd who suddenly turns around and stares back as if tapped on the shoulder knows that humans do seem to possess mysterious and primal senses, so the idea of communicating, both consciously and unconsciously, via hormones pheremones or smells that we can no longer consciously sense is both intriguing and logical I would have been perfectly content for Alyzon to explore her new expanded senses for 500 pages, but apparently some kind of plot was needed hence the Wrongness disease and the nasty constorium of powerful people and thugs needed to spread it When Alyzon is affected personally, as when her younger sister moves inexorably toward an angrier, darker state of mind, the plot is compelling, but it veers toward quite unbelievable conspiracy theory weirdness toward the end After a last minute dangerous climax, the story is wrapped up so abruptly that I flipped back and forth to make sure I hadn t missed any pages Alyzon s steady and sensible, if rather na ve, personality, her large and unique family, and her steadfast friend Gilly who smells wonderfully of the sea are some of the many strong elements of this well written, thought provoking fantasy A weak point is the ridiculous cover, depicting a glamorous, glossy lipsticked girl who looks nothing like the rather ordinary, drab haired Alyzon Gilly dresses her up at one point to attend an event incognito and thus we get the off putting, sparkly jacket art.Highly recommended for grades 8 and up. Ever wished you had extraordinary hearing, smell or vision When Alyson Whitestarr wakes up in hospital after being in a coma for a month it takes her some time to realise the overwhelming surge upon her senses are just that Her six senses are no longer at ordinary levels and her most remarkable skill becomes her ability to smell people s feelings, their honesty, their essence She can smell their goodness, their worries and ultimately some of their intent good and bad While at first this daily barrage of extra information upon Alyzon is puzzling and even frightening, on her return to school she realises how much her world has changed Her first encounter with the handsome Harlan demonstrates this fact, and for the first time ever she wants to run away from her crush Harlen now smells like rotting meat and is actively chasing her, seeking a date Alyzon is able to deduce that those people who are associated with a horrific smell are carrying some type of illness that no one else can see When it appears that members of her own family are at risk Alyzon and her new friends must do everything they can to stop those responsible.Carmody has captured many of the characters in this story beautifully and I must make special mention of Alyzon s Da, Macoll a grounded, talented musician with a warm heart and good soul The other character I loved was Luke Alyzon s baby brother, whose simple goodness and youth was always able to allow Alyzon to block out the overload of her extra perception and bury herself in his innocence As a secondary text the potential for class discussion is huge character development and the skilful creation of sub text for literary focuses or links to other curriculum areas such as cults in today s world are simply a few Title or story sound familiar Alyzon Whitestarr is a re edition of the original book first released in 2005 Carmody explains the re print due partly to audience requests to find a copy and the other to human nature While people have many positive attributes they are also able to display a darker flip side she finds troubling and believes that these opposing views of humanity still have currency a decade after the book s original release There is no doubt Alyzon Whitestarr is a story with multiple layers about humanity, good and evil When the story builds to its peak, page turning becomes impossible to stop Are Alyzon S New Abilities A Blessing Or A Curse Alyzon Whitestarr Doesn T Take After Her Musically Talented Father Or Her Nocturnal, Artistic Mother In Fact, She S The Most Normal Member Of A Very Eccentric Family Until The Day That An Accident Leaves Her Unique Than She Ever Could Have Dreamed Suddenly Colors Are Vibrant To Alyzon Her Memory Is Flawless But Strangest Of All Is Alyzon S Sense Of Smell Her Best Friend Smells Of A Comforting Sea Breeze She Registers Her Father S Contentment As The Sweet Scent Of Caramelized Sugar But Why Does The Cutest Guy In School Smell So Rancid With Alyzon S Extrasensory Perception Comes Intrigue And Danger, As She Becomes Aware Of The Dark Secrets And Hidden Ambitions That Threaten Her Family In The End, Being Different Might Be Less Of A Blessing Than A Curse Alyzon WhitestarrIsobelle CarmodyPublisher Ford Street Publishing first published by Penguin Group Format PaperbackRRP ISBN 9781925272185Reviewer Tim HarrisOne of my favourite things about non realist fiction is the capacity it gives writers to use fantastical elements to express nebulous, intangible concepts In Alyzon Whitestarr, Isobelle Carmody does this very well, presenting a nuanced exploration of human nature and our equal capacity for both good and evil through the lens of Alyzon s heightened senses, all the while telling a great, suspenseful story.The narrative s pacing is spot on There s always something to keep the pages turning, be it mystery and intrigue, character drama, or thriller like suspense, but the story never feels unfocused The prose itself is also very good It reads well, and the odd combination of Alyzon s practicality which often leaves her rolling her eyes at the antics of those less firmly grounded in reality with her often poetic way of thinking provides for both clever lines and great imagery Carmody s use of symbolism is subtle enough that it doesn t get in the way of the story, without being so subtle as to be wasted.Carmody does a great job of the balancing act of making her characters both distinctive and complex The fantastic is again deployed to great effect here, summing up each character s essence in a few images, and most characters also have some quirk that gives readers an easily memorable handle to remember them by A lesser writer might leave it at that, but Carmody combines this with a depth of characterisation that really brings her characters to life and makes them feel real This complexity provides a stark contrast to those characters which Carmody presents as distinctly unreal These seem uncannily one dimensional, as if they are expressions of the metaphysical malaise the narrative centres upon than they are humans.Alyzon Whitestarr is an extremely enjoyable read It is rare that a story combines nuance and accessibility so well I would recommend it for readers aged fourteen and up who aren t afraid to ask difficult questions regarding the human condition.