Sunday, September 11, 2011
The Queens of All the Earth by Hannah Sternberg
The Queens of All the Earth is about two sisters named Olivia and Miranda. On the day she is supposed to leave for her Freshman year at Cornell, Olivia becomes catatonic. She has an obvious and acute fear of growing up. In order to help her sister, Miranda takes her on a vacation to Barcelona. While there, Olivia finds a love interest in Greg Brown, a shy preacher's son. Olivia has never had a boyfriend, but Miranda hates the Browns.
Honestly, Miranda hates everyone. And everyone rightfully hates her for being a shrew. She constantly accuses the hostel workers of pretending not to understand her (Though you can't blame them). Miranda keeps Olivia on a tight leash. She doesn't like the Browns immediately because she is uncomfortable around religious people, and she definitely doesn't like Olivia and Greg's budding romance.
Olivia just takes her sister's instructions and criticisms. She obviously likes Greg, but avoids him on her sister's instructions. It's a little infuriating, but I really think in some ways I was and still am like Olivia. She reads and rereads the books from her childhood, she is afraid of growing up and moving towards an ending, whether the ending is good or bad doesn't matter. She just doesn't want the ending.
The end of the book wraps things up a little too neatly. I love a happy ending, but this one doesn't seem earned. If nothing else, The Queens of All the Earth makes me want to take a vacation to Barcelona. Inspired by the descriptions of the city, I googled images of cathedrals, castles, and even the Magic Fountain. It's definitely a beautiful city.
I received a copy of The Queens of All the Earth through Netgalley. It's available October 11th.