Thursday Review: Traffic Jam

The world echoed, faded, and went dark”First, what an awesome line! Sorry, writer fan girl moment. Back to serious review stuff.I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked up Traffic Jam. This was not my happy young adult world of cool powers, and romantic relationships (though there is a bit of romance). This was a much darker, much more realistic place that we all like to pretend doesn’t exist.

Groeling writes dread well. I read this book with baited breath and a twisted stomach, terrified at what I’d find on the next page but unable to stop reading. The book was well named on a bunch of levels and reading it was like driving by a car accident, in a really good way. I had the same feeling when I read The Lovely Bones. The subject matter was horrific, but the writing was beautiful, the plot compelling, and the characters felt real. They mattered.

Val was amazing. I love how real her reactions felt. She would see something and freeze, or become speechless, and later, when she had time to process what was happening, furious and protective, and fierce and vulnerable.

As far as the subject matter goes, Groeling handled that with a skilled hand. The content was horrifying, but never gratuitous. No lines were crossed, in fact the book was downright chaste.

I keep talking about the subject matter, so I want to be clear that this book isn’t just an issue book. I never felt like I was being preached at or given a public service announcement. I never had a secret life of the american teenager moment, where in the middle of the story a random character starts spitting out statistics and medical stuff. This was a story that happened to surround an issue, not an issue with a plot to inform and interest the masses.

I could write about this book all day, but the gist of it is I couldn’t put it down. I really wouldn’t be surprised to see this novel become the next big thing everyone’s talking about.

Want to learn more about Melissa Groeling? Click here.

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