Title: Hannah and Soraya’s Fully Magic Generation-Y Snowflake Road Trip Across America
Author: James Ward
Genre: Literary fiction / Women’s fiction / Contemporary fiction
Hannah and Soraya’s Fully Magic Generation-Y Snowflake Road Trip Across America by James Ward follows the frolicking journey of Hannah and Soraya, manager and lead singer of a British contemporary rock band, as they decide to turn in their fame and get back to their roots. Accompanied by two of Hannah’s sisters in more of a misadventure than an adventure, involving identity crises and geriatric con artists, the novel tells a timeless story about life’s struggles and how to cope.
The voice of the story is Hannah. The first-person narrative lends well to this type of novel because the reader gets right inside Hannah’s head as she figures out what she wants out of this trip and life in general, as well as her insecurities and love for her closest friends and family. The British aspect against an American backdrop is a ripe opportunity for humor, especially the group’s obsession with finding every Walmart as they travel. Humor is used effectively throughout the book, most notably when a nonagenarian couple who has a dubious history is introduced, and they are the reason Hannah and Soraya are taking the road trip. Between Hannah’s witty voice and humor, the book is a page turner, even if at times the scenarios seem over the top. The hyperboles work for the narrative rather than against it.
Ward’s novel will appeal to readers who enjoy a solid literary fiction story with a strong feminine angle, as well as the twenty-first century lifestyle of social media, nonconformity, and fluid sexual orientation. While nothing huge or life-altering occurs on the outside and there aren’t any external battles, this story takes on the microcosm of one woman’s life and her views of the world and those around her. We get to know Hannah, and by extension, Soraya. The reader practically sits on Hannah’s shoulder as she experiences a plethora of emotions and battles within the confines of her own mind and how she will work out both intra-personal and inter-personal conflict. Maybe nothing is a matter of life or death, but the author’s careful examination of the human condition and “what makes us tick” is timeless, painting the story with applicable and universal themes.
Among the humor, themes, and Hannah’s gripping voice, however, are some character inconsistencies. These, however, are minor, and they don’t take away from the story.
This novel is also one where the reader shouldn’t “judge a book by its cover.” The cover doesn’t quite do the story justice, and while the title itself is a mouthful, its tone is appropriate for its type of novel.
James Ward’s novel tells a classic story with timeless themes, but gives it a new angle in the twenty-first century by applying relevant human issues. The story’s strong female voice and abundant humor will appeal to age-appropriate women, a smart and clear audience to target. Hannah and Soraya’s Fully Magic Generation-Y Snowflake Road Trip Across America is quirky, fresh, and witty, and it stands out among many modern stories.
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