Review: The Sharp Time by Mary O’Connell
Sandinista Jones is a high school senior with a punk rock name and a broken heart. The death of her single mother has left Sandinista alone in the world, subject to the random vulnerability of everyday life. When the school system lets her down, her grief and instability intensify, and she ponders a violent act of revenge.
Still, in the midst of her crisis, she gets a job at The Pale Circus, a funky vintage clothing shop, and finds friendship and camaraderie with her coworker, a boy struggling with his own secrets.
Even as Sandinista sees the failures of those with power and authority, she’s offered the chance to survive through the redemptive power of friendship. Now she must choose between faith and forgiveness or violence and vengeance.
THE SHARP TIME is a brilliantly crafted YA novel that had my emotions going. I became so invested in Sandinista’s complicated and heart-breaking story that I could think of nothing else while I was reading. It is so blatantly honest and real that you can’t help but get sucked in. This is the first novel I have read from O’Connell and it certainly won’t be the last.
Sandinista is one of those characters who will stick with you forever. Her mother, the one person she had a connection with, died in a terrible accident. Sandinista is heartbroken and a shell of her former self without her. She lost many friends during her grieving and doesn’t really have anyone at all to rely on. If that wasn’t bad enough, she has some serious issues involving her algebra teacher, Catherine Bennett. Catherine Bennett was an absolute monster and Sandinista has so much anger about it.
I really just wanted to cry for Sandinista. Her mother was her everything, and she is so lost without her. The thoughts she has about Catherine Bennett are so crazy that you wonder how Sandinista got herself into this mental state. Thankfully, Sandinista’s new job at the Pale Circus, or more likely her coworker there, Bradley, helps her to move on and find closure in her life.
Bradley is a quirky and funny guy with whom Sandinista finds a strong friendship with. He has a few issues of his own, and I think that is why he and Sandinista were able to build a friendship. They both recognize someone with whom they can identify with. Their friendship is so sweet and touching. I was so happy that Sandinista was able to find such an amazing person like Bradley. What made me even happier was that it didn’t ever veer into a romance. A relationship was the last thing Sandinista needed at that time in her life.
THE SHARP TIME is a wonderful and compelling debut that made me a fan of O’Connell’s writing. It is so gorgeous and the details and characters just come to life right off the pages. Do not pass this one up!!