Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Since her mother’s death years ago, Blue has been traveling around with her father, a professor of history and politics, measuring time in semesters, and in random locations throughout the US. While her father is certainly attentive — indoctrinating her with his philosophical theories, drilling her in vocabulary, and encouraging her reading of every book ever written (which she quotes throughout the narrative) – he also seems to attract women to himself as magnets attract shards of steel. When they actually commit to a single, fancier house in a small town in N Carolina and to a single school for the entirety of Blue’s senior year, Blue cannot believe her luck. And much to her surprise, she actually becomes visible to her peers after being invisible for most of her life, being chosen by one of the teachers, Hannah Schneider, to join a small, tightly knit clique of admiring, rebel students who spend Sunday afternoons with her in her home. This invitation will change Blue’s life path forever.

This is one of the most unique novels I’ve read in quite awhile. The writing is outstanding. Pessl creates characters who are simultaneously mean yet sympathetic, powerful yet vulnerable, familiar yet mysterious. The narrative is replete with sardonic humor and an encyclopedic breadth of cultural and political references, which Blue annotates as she relays her experience. There are also enough unexpected turns that even when you believe you know, you actually have no idea what is coming. It is also the kind of story that you continue to ponder and puzzle over long after the last page is turned (my favorite part…).

I could say so much more, but I don’t want to give anything away. I feel it would take away from your discovering these characters and this intricate plot for yourself. So I won’t.

I will only say it’s a MUST READ – just for the fun of it!!