Zen and Xander Undone by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Source: Personal Bookshelf
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
Ever since their mom past away, Zen and Xander have dealt with their grief in different ways. Zen turned to martial arts as a physical outlet while Xander turned to late night parties and drugs despite her exceedingly intelligence having been accepted to both CalTech and MIT. Zen although being the younger sister is watching out for Xander for her fighting skills comes in handy against unwanted men. Adam, however, Zen and Xander’s next door neighbor, is wanted. But ever so often a letter from their mother shows up and it breaks them even more.
There is nothing characteristically great about Zen and Xander Undone. It can be the fact that the novel is fairly short, clocking in at 200 some pages. It can also be because the novel focuses so much more on Xander that I lost Zen making the first person narration worthless. I do specifically recall her back pains for Zen—just a lot of back straining.
The various methods of grief—hidden from the world, physical violence, and destruction of oneself—are well done. The typical denial of death is not there, which is surprising considering the fact that letters and packages are being delivered to them. In the end, however, I still feel that the novel presented nothing wrenching or addicting to the reader making the novel feel longer than it truly was. It may seem like an oxymoron, a long short book, but it felt endless at times yet when it was done, it felt incomplete.
I do happen to like Paul, another male interest you shall meet. He added the extra oomph and comedic humor that every book needs.
Sorry, but there's just something oily and stringy about it. I like this other version better.