Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Protected by Claire Zorn

This post contains a review and a bookish manicure.



The Protected by Claire Zorn
Published July 23, 2014 by UQP
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars
From the blurb: Hannah's world is in pieces and she doesn't need the school counsellor to tell her she has deep-seated psychological issues. With a seriously depressed mum, an injured dad and a dead sister, who wouldn't have problems?

Hannah should feel terrible but for the first time in ages, she feels a glimmer of hope and isn't afraid anymore. Is it because the elusive Josh is taking an interest in her? Or does it run deeper than that?

In a family torn apart by grief and guilt, one girl's struggle to come to terms with years of torment shows just how long old wounds can take to heal.

Hannah should feel terrible but for the first time in ages, she feels a glimmer of hope and isn't afraid anymore. Is it because the elusive Josh is taking an interest in her? Or does it run deeper than that?
In a family torn apart by grief and guilt, one girl's struggle to come to terms with years of torment shows just how long old wounds can take to heal.

The Protected is Claire Zorn’s second novel. Like her debut, The Sky So Heavy, it is set in the Blue Mountains. The story revolves around fifteen year old Hannah McCann, who attends St Joseph’s. It’s been almost a year since her older sister Katie died, and since then her bullies have backed off, but she’s still lonely and dealing with guilt.

From the moment I started The Protected I was completely sucked into the bubble that is Hannah’s life. Her home life is quiet, with her mother spending most of time in her bedroom, and her father, who is suffering from injuries obtained during the accident, often working long hours. At school she still has panic attacks, and even though the bullying no longer occurs it’s clear her wounds run deep. Told in first person, Hannah slowly recounts events from her childhood, her high school years, and the months before the accident, while also allowing us into her present life.

At only fifteen Hannah has been through a lot, the bullying she endured sounded so awful that I felt sick while reading about it, and she was in the car during the accident that killed Katie and injured her father. Now she’s struggling with what happened that day, as well as her memories of Katie, which aren’t always positive.

It was satisfying to see people start to care about her, particularly Anne, the school counsellor, and Josh Chamberlain, a new boy at school. Anne was quite a character and seemed like the perfect fit for Hannah. Josh made me laugh out loud several times; he was so good to Hannah, treating her in such a positive way.

Claire’s writing made everything vivid and palpable, from the heat of the summer, to the physical attacks on Hannah, to Josh’s smile – I saw it, heard it, and felt it all as if I was Hannah.

Often YA fiction seems parent-less, but the parents in this story were very much present, even if their family was on the verge of falling apart. It was interesting to see the different ways the family members reacted to Katie’s death, and Hannah’s dad in particular made my heart ache. The accident, and the proceedings that followed, were dealt with in a very believable way, with realistic consequences.

While reading this I kept thinking about The Accident by Kate Hendrick. Both books feature a strong emphasis on nature (in this case bush fires and the summer heat), the central theme of a car accident, and jump back and forth in time, piecing together the story – if you loved that book, give this a go, and vice versa.

The Protected is a moving, honest, hopeful story of a family coming to terms with death, and a girl trying to find her place in the world. Once I started reading I found it hard to put down, and it left me heartbroken and breathless, in the best possible way.

Thank you to the wonderful people at UQP for my review copy.



My manicure for The Sky So Heavy is still one of my faves, so I was pleased to see Claire’s new book also had a great cover perfect for nail art.


On my thumb, index, and pinky nails I used 2 coats of Ulta3 Bright Me.



On my middle and ring nails I started with 2 coats of China Glaze White Out. Once dry I painted a stripe down the middle with Barry M Peach Melba. Once that was dry I painted the right hand side with Ulta3 Bright Me.

Once dry I used acrylic paint and a fine brush to paint Hannah's silhouette. I also lightly sponged some paint onto the orange nails to mimic the marbled/smoky effect on the cover.


25 comments:

  1. Wow you captured that black image of her perfectly!

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  2. I love your nails, I think every time I say its my favorite and then I see the next nail art and that one becomes my favorite too! I need to read this book, I love that the parents are present!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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  3. Oh wow, you did the person so well! sheesh, I wouldn't have a hand steady enough for that. This book sounds really good; thanks for sharing.

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  4. Lovely nail art! I really like the colors together. The book sounds interesting too (:

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  5. Firstly, excellent review and I've got to say that you're extrordinarily talented with your nail work. That's spot on, Mands!

    I don't think I'm going to click with this book, even more so since I didn't with The Accident, but I'll still give it a try since I have a copy and hopefully I'll be surprised- it's clear you really enjoyed it, and I hope I like it at least half so much! Wonderful post! xx

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  6. wow, amazing nails ! i am jealous because ULTA 3 could be find only in Australia:)
    hope my bro will thinking about me , and will bring me to Europe even a few bottles.he is coming for 7 days , and i cant wait to see him ! it so far distance ..Eu to Australia :(
    have a nice day ! love this nail art ! amazing !

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  7. I haven't heard of this one but this story sounds like prefect for me. I like books where the main characters have been through a lot. Somehow I find them easier to relate to. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. Amazing nails, Mands :)

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  8. I like that this is realistic and well written and yeah for participating parents!

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  9. Gosh, the nails are fantastic, Mandee! I can't get over the detail on that silhouette one in particular. I'm not sure I'm up for this type of emotional read--tough bullying situations really get to me hard!--but I'm glad this author's works are such winners for you. Fantastic review, dear!

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  10. Books dealing with bullying, death and loss aren't always easy reads but this one sounds really satisfying and like a story that just takes over your entire life. I'm glad you enjoyed this one so much! I love when YA books feature MC's with actual living parents and also feel real like this one obviously does. You really captured the cover art perfectly with you mani too! WTG Mands ^^ xx

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  11. Wow, this book sounds really heart-breaking. I can just feel the drama and the internal conflicts dropping from your review, and I'm kinda scared to read this, in a way. It's like, I know the feelings that you'll get from this would be raw and stuff, and that intense feeling somehow attracts me and repels me. But I know I would be reading this. I'm a sucker for stories like this. Stories about healing and finding something in life to love again. They always pull my heartstrings like no other.

    And lovely nail art as always!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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  12. LOVE the colours of this cover! I'm definitely going to have to pick this up soon - I should have read TSSH much sooner than I did on your recommendation ;) I loved that and I have no doubt this is just as good :) Also, I love a good YA novel parent (if that makes sense) so I'm glad to hear there is a big family focus in this.

    Michelle @ The Unfinished Bookshelf

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  13. Oh, thank God this wasn't another 'my parents are dead, I'm all alone' type of books. Yay for actual parental figures being part of the story!

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  14. Love the feature nails with the 3 colours! So cool. I will definitely have to pick this up, I really liked The Accident. I still need to read The Sky So Heavy too!

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  15. This sounds quite emotional, but definitely in a way that makes me want to check it out. I will have to go look up this author's debut too, as I don't think I've heard much about it yet. And so glad to hear this book isn't parent-less. It's funny how often that happens, especially when most teens do have or see parenting figures in their lives.

    Thanks for the review, Mandee. And stunning nails, as always! :)

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  16. It's odd, because I always love books that provoke such strong emotions in me because I know that means the book is doing it's job - LOL! This sounds so good, and I really love the sound of the family dynamics in this. Thanks for sharing Mands, and, as always, BRILLIANT review (and nails!) <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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  17. Great manicure, Mands! This books sounds really interesting. I like that the parents are not absent. That's one of my pet peeves about YA novels.

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  18. It's good to see realistic scenarios where parents actually live with, and parent, their children. It's always frustrating to see the sort of Gossip Girl parenting where they don't actually parent in anyway than handing over vast amounts of cash and letting them run free.

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  19. I bought this today! I'm really excited to start reading it. I haven't read her other book yet either but it's my TBR list. I'll get there on day.
    - Rachel

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  20. Love the orange stripes you did too match the different shades of orange used for the letters :) great job on Katie's silhouette too!

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  21. Beautiful nails as always, I just love the detail you've put into your manicure! I'm glad to hear the parents were very present in this book and it sounds very emotional. I'll be reading it soon :)

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  22. This sounds really good. I love when an author addresses the family drama and doesn't just use it as background for the romance.

    Beautiful cover (& manicure!) too.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  23. oh man, i am so pleased to hear how much you enjoyed this as i loved her debut. also, i am so very excited for another book set in the blue mountains :)

    love the review -- you really fill in the gaps from the blurb to let me know what to expect. i'll let you know what i think when i get a copy :)

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  24. I hadn't heard of this before, but I think this looks so good. I hadn't even heard of the author before, but she's definitely on my radar now. I will be keeping an eye out for this on Book Depository. Great review and brilliant nails :)

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  25. Wow these nails are definitely some of my favorite you've ever done! I love the silhouette, the detail is incredible! This sounds like a book that would completely absorb me, and I love the emphasis on nature and setting too. Definitely one to add to my TBR (if I can get my hands on it over here). Lovely review and fab nails!

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