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Resurrecting Sunshine Hardcover – October 1, 2016
The Amazon Book Review
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—When Sunshine died almost a year ago, the world mourned the singer. Adam Rhodes, Sunshine's boyfriend and backup guitarist, wishes he could process his grief in private—for Sunshine and the girl she used to be when she was still called Marybeth and they were growing up in foster care. Instead, Adam settles for dulling his senses with alcohol. When Dr. Elloran shows up at his door, he expects her to be another reporter or fan. Instead, she offers Adam the impossible: Elloran plans to use cloning and Memory Archiving Port (MAP) technology to bring Sunshine back to prove to the world (and Elloran's investors) that Project Orpheus can resurrect the dead. If Adam plays along—helping this new Sunshine remember the final days of her life and restoring other degraded memories—he'll have the chance to see Marybeth again. As Adam remembers the tragedy that led to his and Sunshine's fame, he is forced to confront painful memories of her death and begins to question if his decision is right for anyone. Simplistic and utilitarian world-building, including poorly explained technology, ground this sci-fi novel in 2026. A slow start and weak execution detract from a potentially intriguing premise. Koosis raises some interesting questions about cloning, depression, and suicide, but her prose falls short of insightful answers. VERDICT Short chapters will appeal to reluctant readers willing to go along with the often tedious plot. Possibly for readers looking for something in the vein of Adam Silvera's More Happy Than Not.—Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library
"Raises deep, ethical questions that teens, especially those who have lost someone, will find interesting to contemplate." VOYA, December 1, 2016
"Leads readers through a labyrinth of moral, spiritual, and emotional dilemmas explored through complex characters grappling with loss….Koosis’s philosophical tale thoughtfully examines the ambiguity of what makes us who we are.” Publishers Weekly, August 29, 2016
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Adam awakes from a dream/nightmare about his girlfriend, who passed away almost a year ago. It's clear that Adam is still grieving as he immediately reaches for alcohol to numb his pain.. And that's pretty much all we know about Adam as the story begins.
A doctor from Project Orpheus shows up to tell him that they are planning to bring Sunshine back, AKA Marybeth who was Adam's girlfriend that passed away. They need help with some of her memories, and that's where Adam comes into play.. After being completely thrown off guard and angry, he eventually agrees to this craziness. He heads off to this secret location as he clings to hope that he'll finally be able to right his wrongs.
As Adam gets situated at Project Orpheus there are a few more characters introduced into the story. I enjoyed all of them and what they brought to the story. My favorite is Gen who is an intelligent and brave young girl. She helps Adam in a way that represented true friendship, and I loved that she brought forth a new layer to him. Even with the addition of Gen, I still felt like all I knew about Adam was his grief. . . But maybe that was the point?
We learn more about Adam and Marybeth as Adam relives his memories. I truly felt for him as he continues to question if he's doing the right thing. As a reader, we can see all the problems behind Adam's decisions, but the writing was great in that way because it was like when will he realize them himself? That's what made this story intriguing.
There are so many twists/revelations as the story continues! Some people might find them predictable, but I was actually surprised by the majority of them. The cloning process was interesting, and it was explored to its full potential for this certain story to be told. This is more of a story about grief and moving on than it is sci-fi. I think Lisa A. Koosis did a wonderful job at balancing out the two to tell a great story.
By the end, I understood these characters in a way I never thought I would.. Even Marybeth. The writing became a bit confusing when it came to the memories, but it wasn't a downfall. I loved the idea behind this book, the way Adam needed to go through this process as a way of dealing with his grief and understanding of Marybeth's death. He does somewhat get answers to questions most people won't ever be able to get answers to in our own reality, but the way Koosis made me (a reader) feel was as if it was okay not to always have a certain answer.
The ending was unexpected. This book had a rough beginning but in the end I really enjoyed it. The theme of this book is what made me enjoy it. Finding that you can't just run away from your pain. You must choose to look, heal, and survive. Choose your own life and only yours.
Second, I have huge appreciation for the inventive story structure. The plot is determined in large part by the memories grieving, rock-guitarist Adam chooses to share about the love-of-his-life Marybeth, known to the world as the singer Sunshine. Sometimes he recalls moments from their earliest days, as two angry foster kids pitted against the world. Other times, Adam dwells on the birth of the band that became their family, and later the source of so much sadness. And sometimes, it’s a recollection from the days just before Sunshine’s end. But every memory that Adam doles out is a clue, each serving to peel back the mystery shrouding Marybeth/Sunshine’s tragic death.
Another thing Koosis does so well is people her tale with real, flesh and blood characters, especially Gen, the caring, sensitive daughter of the Project Orpheus’ founder, a girl with secrets almost as deep as Adam’s and Marybeth’s, and of course, Adam. It’s not always easy being in his head, but given the suffering and turmoil he’s experienced, his anger and bitterness are understandable and appropriate when every day he’s being forced to relive a history and a relationship that was usually more bitter than sweet.
Finally, I have to give a shout out to the writing. Gorgeous, gorgeous prose. From this gem, right at the beginning: “We step out onto the beach. Dark, flat-bottomed clouds hang low over us, and fat raindrops crater the sand. There’s no one here but us and the gulls, which tip their heads back and screech, cries that sound like laughter” to this, at the midpoint, “I imagine the memories they’re retrieving travelling along the wires, no longer bits and bytes, ones and zeros, but a yellow (black?) liquid that bubbles through a moonshiner’s still.” For me, it doesn’t get better than that.
Resurrecting Sunshine is a deeply moving story of love and loss, guilt and grief, sacrifice and, if you’re lucky, second chances. It’s a story that will mess with your head and your heart in the best of all possible ways.
Most recent customer reviews
It is all too easy for me to give this book a 5 out of 5 rating but let me tell you why.Read more