Reader Review: Queen Of Corona – Ro Esterhazy
Queen Of Corona: ★★★★
I was emailed a while ago by Ro Esterhazy asking if I would be interested in completing a review of her book ‘Queen Of Corona’. Thinking that the premise of the novel sounded interesting and wanting to expand my own reading preferences to explore more new authors, I happily accepted her request and added her book to my ‘to be read’ list.
The novel introduces the protagonist Roza – a girl with a troubled past after being let down by the continuously failing public school system. She tells her story as she has to flee the US to go back to her mother’s home of Poland after a school protest ends in tragedy. Trying to figure out her life and find her footing in a foreign country, readers are able to explore the harsh realities and struggles that Roza faces. Her journey is one of both self-discovery and personal development as it looks at her experience of coming to terms with her own identity.
As soon as the book starts, there’s a very evident and dynamic tone that’s been created through the narration. The book is completely descriptive straight away and apparent imagery is created from the get-go. Not only does this demand the audience’s attention, but it does well to maintain the intrigue of the story even though the details of the main plot and the main character haven’t quite been revealed. Due to this, the reader is easily able to get a very clear idea of the personality of the main character, which works to make the book all the more immersive as the development and creation doesn’t feel two dimensional. The beliefs of the main character are made obvious and the atmosphere of the novel is definitely very well-written from the start of the book itself. Because such a bold and somewhat different tone of voice has been created by the main character, the monologue and the way that the book has been written works to be very intriguing. It prompts you to want to continue reading and explore the story to a larger extent as there are details about the character that have yet to be uncovered and explored by the audience and by the story that is set to unravel. Likewise, the way that the protagonist of the story addresses the reader is highly captivating and it makes the audience members feel involved in the story that’s being told, instead of just reading about the happenings within the character’s life. I really enjoyed just how captivating the tone of voice really was and it grabbed my attention so easily that it made the book a pleasure to read overall.
Similarly to the bold tone of voice that’s created for and by the character of the story, the book itself isn’t scared to be political and it faces real-world issues face on. It speaks on issues that a lot of us like to brush off and put to one side, which is nice to see as it does ‘sugar coat’ things in that sense. It’s not scared to be unapologetic and make it’s own voice known, and the main character is absolutely apparent in her beliefs which makes her all the stronger and more memorable. She’s not somebody who’s going to back down any time soon and, despite going through her own issues, she perseveres and faces so many life problems that many of us are familiar with in one aspect or another.
That being said, the book itself and the storyline that is showcased is definitely relatable as well. This is especially the case if you’re a young adult who is trying to find your own place and worth within the world. Many of us face the issues of coming to grips with exactly who we are and, with the world looking like it does at the moment and the issues that are occurring throughout the globe, sometimes we get lost in the idea that our futures are going to be bleak no matter what. I think, in general, a lot of young people will have quite a bit of anger towards the world and towards their current situations, even if the issues seem small in comparison to other events. Therefore, the anger and the emotions that the main character experiences are definitely ones that the audience members are going to be able to interpret and understand in one way or another for themselves. We go through stages of our lives without knowing who the hell we are and sometimes we don’t know whether we should even bother trying.
One of the elements of the book that I was able to relate is the whole subplot of the character’s family being somewhat ‘expats’. Her mother moved to New York from England, and that’s an aspect of the story that is rather referenced quite a lot. I’m an expat, so I do understand that sense of getting angry at your parents from somewhat upping and leaving and uprooting your family. It does leave you in a sense of turmoil as you don’t know whether you should be trying to fit in, or whether you should be true to how you were raised. Even though this isn’t one of the main focuses of the book and you absolutely don’t need to have the familiarity of being an expat to understand and enjoy the narrative, it is still an element of the novel that stood out to me on a personal level.
Another point that I liked was the fact that the book also isn’t hesitant in making use of good representation of characters that work to overcome issues in their lives. The story looks at how certain characters have worked to overcome adversity and how they’ve come to make their own lives work for them, despite the problems and hurdles that they may face overall. Again, this is something that I want to be able to say that I somewhat relate to, once again linking back into the whole ‘expat family’ subplot, but, in general, it’s also great representation. Not only does it show the readers that you can overcome even the darkest of situations, but it gives the character motivation and pushes the story onwards.
The ending did actually take me off guard, and that’s not something that I was all expecting. I really was rooting for the main character to get back to her life in the States and to actually make a name for herself, but, of course, that would’ve been way too easy and way too convenient for an ending. I definitely think that the book did an excellent job of developing the narrative in a way that does allude to the ending and does provide quite a bit of prior foreshadowing, though the reader doesn’t actually pick up on these elements of the plot until the ending comes to a close overall. I think that definitely works to make the book a lot more intriguing and captivates the reader’s attention right to the very end. I was somewhat kicking myself for not making the connection earlier and not picking up on the subtleties that hinted towards how the ending did, in fact, close off the book, but that made it all the more interesting and enjoyable to read.
To put it simply; I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that this is a bold portrayal of an #ownvoices book. It’s not afraid to be political, blunt, and tell it like it is, but it also showcases the struggles that young people face. It’s very relatable in the sense that, in a world that currently is how it is, a lot of people are going to be angry and the emotions of the main character are completely understandable. Not only does the book make good use of representation, overcoming adversity, and the issues that people face when trying to come to terms with their own identity, but it also makes the audience stop and really think about the state of the planet. The author does a great job of writing in a way that generates a specific character tone and she knows how to use her talent to grab the attention of any type of reader.
Thanks for reading this short review and I’ll write you later.
If you’re a fan of books that look at current affairs and current world issues, then this is definitely a book for you.
If you want to explore an unpredictable and rather hectic story detailing a young girl’s struggle to come to terms with her own identity, then give this book a read and give the young author some gratitude because she definitely deserves it.