Book Review: The Lightness of Hands ARC by Jeff Garvin

Sixteen-year-old Ellie Dante is desperate for something in her life to finally go right. Her father was a famous stage magician until he attempted an epic illusion on live TV—and failed. Now Ellie lives with her dad in a beat-up RV, attending high school online and performing with him at birthday parties and bars across the Midwest to make ends meet.

GENRE: 

Young Adult, Contemporary

PAGES:

400 pages

PART OF A SERIES?:

Standalone Novel

RELEASE DATE: 

April 14th 2020

 

PUBLISHER:

Balzer + Bray

SOURCE:

e-ARC

Please note that I receive most ARCs in exchange for honest reviews but this does not have an effect on the authenticity of the review itself. Reviews on books that have not yet been released are always spoiler free. ARCs may differ from final book!

YOU CAN pre-order THE BOOK AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE/LIBRARY OR THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

GoodReads

IndieBound

Amazon

Audible – Not Available Yet – Check Back Later

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Apple Books

Kobo

Google Play

Author’s Website

GOODREADS SUMMARY: 

Sixteen-year-old Ellie Dante is desperate for something in her life to finally go right. Her father was a famous stage magician until he attempted an epic illusion on live TV—and failed. Now Ellie lives with her dad in a beat-up RV, attending high school online and performing with him at birthday parties and bars across the Midwest to make ends meet.

But when the gigs dry up, their insurance lapses, leaving Dad’s heart condition unchecked and forcing Ellie to battle her bipolar II disorder without medication.

Then Ellie receives a call from a famous magic duo, who offer fifteen thousand dollars and a shot at redemption: they want The Uncanny Dante to perform the illusion that wrecked his career—on their live TV special, which shoots in Los Angeles in ten days.

Ellie knows her dad will refuse-but she takes the deal anyway, then lies to persuade him to head west. With the help of her online-only best friend and an unusual guy she pairs up with along the way, Ellie makes a plan to stage his comeback. But when her lie is exposed, she’ll have to confront her illness and her choices head-on to save her father—and herself.

MY REVIEW

I think that anyone can write a book about a character with bipolar disorder. Anyone can write a book about a tumultuous relationship with a parent. Anyone can write a book about tough friendships and the ups and downs of navigating a relationship. But there is something so unique and magical – literally – about this book and I blew through it in a matter of hours.

Jeff has a way of making characters stand out and jump off the page. Ellie and her father are so real, and the way they interact with each other and with others is what the core of this novel. Its the relationships and how their life – whether its the lack of money or the magic or the bipolar issues or the heart issues – is shaped by these relationships. It feels like a story between Ellie and her father, Ellie and her best friend, Ellie and her potential boyfriend, Ellie and herself and its wonderful to be in her head and see her struggle with all of the relationships that are in front of her because they’re all hard, even on the best days. Her relationships with her Liam, the love interest, and her best friend, Ripley, are so real and I think even if you have no experience on what it feels like to be bipolar, I think you can still feel what Ellie is feeling.

I think what really got me about this novel was the close relationship between Ellie and her father – my father and I are very close and I recognize a lot of similar things while reading this. My dad was a single dad for a good chunk of my life and there were often times where I felt weighted down by the struggles of raising six kids, even though I was one of those kids. I understood her frustration with her dad so much and the frustration of being poor and not knowing where the next meal is coming from. I even recognized the struggle of Ellie’s mental illness with her dad’s physical health – my dad has a lot of heart problems and while we’ve been lucky that he’s never had anything super serious *knock on wood*, I’ve definitely spent many an hour in the hospital with him, for “just in case” scenarios. But on top of that, I recognize the closeness between the two of them and I really appreciated it and I really felt that.

Lastly, I truly loved the magician element of it all. I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of magic,  but I wouldn’t say I’m not either but after reading this book, it felt so fascinating to me that there would be this whole world, this whole community that existed and I’m just unaware of it because I’m not a part of it. But it really added to the story – while you were frustrated with Ellie’s dad for never having a plan, never having money, living out of a trailer, not having money for medical insurance and medication – you also you were super rooting for them to succeed as magicians too because you could see the magic that both of them felt while performing. It was fascinating and I love characters with a passion for something unusual so I super super appreciated it big time.

RATING:

5 out of 5 Stars

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