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Lovely, Dark and Deep Hardcover – October 16, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Wren is a different person since the car accident that she walked away from, but that killed her boyfriend moments after their breakup. Months later, she has retreated from her old cosmopolitan life to her father’s art studio in northern Maine, where she can be left alone to run, sleep, and sink into a silence that begins to resemble a deep depression. Despite the months of self-imposed silence, Wren is won over by the persistence of Cal, an architecture student also taking a break, hiding out, and dealing with his worsening MS. This first novel, like the poem alluded to in the title, finds beauty, wonder, trepidation, and determination quietly and in small moments. The wandering pace is perfectly evocative of Wren’s mental state and the unfolding of her relationship with Cal, but it may deter readers who prefer less reflection. Display this thoughtful meditation alongside favorites from the likes of John Green, Sarah Zarr, and Courtney Summers. Grades 9-12. --Heather Booth

Review

“The story of Wren’s overwhelming grief and fragile new love is truthful, poetic and unflinchingly raw. An emotional and deeply insightful read.” (E. Lockhart, author of The Boyfriend List and the Printz Honor and National Book Award Finalist The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks)

“In achingly beautiful prose, Amy McNamara has written a story of grief and bravery and hope that has the power to both haunt and heal. LOVELY, DARK AND DEEP is a masterful debut.” (Nina LaCour, author of Hold Still and The Disenchantments)

“LOVELY, DARK AND DEEP earns each one of its title’s adjectives. Wren is one of the most compelling narrators I've ever come across. Her heart is large, her voice is convincing, and her journey matters...I'll keep this book on my shelf, and return to its riches again and again.” (Laura Kasischke, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Space, in Chains)

"Wren’s quiet emergence from despair rings true." (Kirkus Reviews)

"This first novel, like the poem alluded to in the title, finds beauty, wonder, trepidation, and
determination quietly and in small moments." (Booklist)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144243435X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442434356
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,154,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amy McNamara learned to read at three and hasn't put the book down since. She holds a BA in French literature and an MFA in poetry. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her manuscript of poetry THE NEW HEAD CHRONOMETRIST has been a finalist for many book awards. LOVELY, DARK AND DEEP is her first novel. She's hard at work on her second one and lives in NYC with her honey and their two kids.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Debut author, Amy McNamara's, stunning portrait of a young woman's grief in the most extreme stage shall touch the heart of every reader. Lovely, Dark, and Deep's Wren Wells may be a pseudo-recluse living in a secluded area in Maine with her father, but she lays her pain on the table for any who bother to see. The death of Wren's boyfriend, Patrick, and the many factors that surround his death, sends her life off-course. Living with her sculpting father, Wren hopes to get herself straightened out and back to pursuing her carefully laid out goals. Her time spent out of touch with society: friends, work, and passion, leave her parents worried and her mind close to shutting down. The aspect of living in the small town that Wren didn't count on, was finding a reason to emerge from the darkness in which she's shrouded herself.

Wren is strong, even when she feels like hiding away from the world, but she knows that her misery is something that's physically and mentally holding her back. Characters that are, at least, partially aware of themselves in such a manner are fascinating to read about. Wren walks herself towards moving on from a tragic accident, though not without help, but she pushes readers toward encouraging her, backtracks toward pitying her, then comes full circle to hopefulness that she'll finally make real progress. Cal Owens flows into the novel like a knight in shining armor, almost. He has his own story that I wish McNamara could have explained in more detail, because I wasn't too familiar with the source of his troubles, but overall he added to the path of hope Wren could choose to ignore or follow. Wren and Cal are drawn together by their similarities and differences when it comes to dealing with grief.
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Format: Hardcover
Wow. Just absolutely wowness. Lovely, Dark, and Deep is actually the perfect words to describe it--minus the deep and adding emotional. This is definitely an amazing book to debut with and that cover is just plain gorgeous in my opinion! Seriously. WHAT is with all these beautiful covers, and premises that I just can't resist?

The writing was so, so, SO stunning. I think it's because McNara decided to use present tense, unlike most books which use past. Personally, I love it when people use present terms. "The snow falls softly" sounds more...poetic, I guess than "The snow fell softly". And I just love how the words seem to flow more like that. So seeing that this was in present tense? Well my expectations went a bit higher and I was a bit worried that it wouldn't quite reach my expectations.

I loved the characters. they weren't necessarily far from perfect, but they had feelings that you could fell with them. They had the reactions some of us would have. Wren was such a real character, you guys. She went through so much, and even though she could be considered " self-centered", everyone has to admit, we'd probably do the same or at least something similar. And that's what I loved! the author captured these emotions, these actions, so perfectly, in my opinion. And that was...that was wonderful, for lack of a better word.
Cal, was, on the other hand, not perfect, per say, but very very close. He did react like some people would too, but...he's like, a mix of all the kind reactions. Nothing he did was ever really mean or even slightly annoying. He was just a character you had to fall in love with, sweet and so understanding, so I guess I can't complain there!

The romance was something I was iffy about.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is wonderful. It's not about magic and the supernatural. It's about heartache and loss and rediscovering yourself. Love this book! Seamless writing, engaging, real.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Big Picture:

Only reason I started to read this book because is about a girl named Wren. I'm always interested in books about Wrens. I always like comparing myself to her/him and figuring out what we have in common.
I was surprised by this haunting book. It was quite good. I felt a connection to Wren. I felt like she was me in a way.
I liked her transformation. It was slow and steady. It changed in subtle ways.
The romance wasn't something I liked necessarily. I felt like it was uncalled for and rushed. Not that Cal wasn't interesting or anything.
And the plot was a bit dull. It was slow for sure. And nothing really happened.
This book stunned me. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did.
But the one thing I got from this book was this: there is always hope.
The Dirty Details:

As I went through this book, I felt a connection to her. To Wren. I am her. And she is me. In a way. We are both creators. She takes photographs. I write. We make things. We make beautiful things seem haunting. We make haunting things seem beautiful. We make the world look different. (Or so I hope.)
I knew that I would grieve like she did. I felt like I would cut myself off from the world if I had a loved one die. I would stop speaking. I would mope and listen to music and read. I felt like our reactions would be the same.
It wasn't just ours names. Sure, that probably helped my feeling of connection. It wasn't just that people called us Wren even if that wasn't our legal birth name. It was her emotions. Her reactions. I saw myself in her shoes. (Not that I'd get a boyfriend at all. I mean...I'm still me. She's still her.) There was just something about her. Her vulnerability. Her quiet. I wanted to hold her close and protect her.
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