Special Topics in Calamity Physics: A Novel Review

Marisha Pessl wrote Special Topics in Calamity Physics when she was just in her twenties. She may not be a well known author, but her writing is up to par with more popular writers likes Stephen King—-just with a completely different writing style and genre. I discovered this gem of a book in my junior year of high school when it was assigned by my AP English teacher. We picked apart the plot, analyzed all the layers of the complex characters, and ended with a trial using the characters in attempt to create our own ending to the open ending. To learn more about Pessl, check out her website

This remains one of my favorite books today because I fell in love with Blue van Meer, the witty, sarcastic heroine. There are quite a few books with female, teenage protagonists, but Blue stands out from the other girls with her hyper-intellectual voice thanks to her overbearing, snooty father who works as a traveling professor. She is the perfect type of protagonist for this sort of story as the plot contains several layers of mysteries that are interconnected to the people around Blue. Readers sympathize with Blue as they slowly uncover, or at least partly uncover, the big secret her father and quite a few others are hiding.

Books Marisha Pessl Has Written

  • Special Topics in Calamity Physics
  • Night Film

Authors Similar to Marisha Pessl

  1. Jeffrey Eugenides
  2. Kelly Braffet
  3. Samantha Hunt

Components to a Great Novel: Have They Been Met? Yes!

likeable protagonist X
engaging plot X
dynamic characters X

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