Harmony Book Reviews

A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell

Posted on: June 1, 2009

A Map Of The Known World

Title: A Map of the Known World

Author: Lisa Ann Sandell

Rating: 9.5/10

Good If… You’re looking for a short and emotional book.

Summary: (Taken from Amazon)

Cora Bradley dreams of escape. Ever since her reckless older brother, Nate, died in a car crash, Cora has felt suffocated by her small town and high school. She seeks solace in drawing beautiful maps, envisioning herself in exotic locales. When Cora begins to fall for Damian, the handsome, brooding boy who was in the car with Nate the night he died, she uncovers her brother’s secret artistic life and realizes she had more in common with him than she ever imagined. With stunning lyricism, Sandell weaves a tale of one girl’s journey through the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love.

My Thoughts: Sandell’s previous novel, Song of the Sparrow, blew me away so much that I had very high expectations for A Map of the Known World. This novel proved that not only can Sandell write amazing stories in verse, she’s also a very talented prose writer.

A Map of the Known World is a slow to start. I was a little disappointed but since I had nothing better to do, I stuck with it. Fast forward a chapter or two and I’m glued to the book. I finished it in one sitting.

Some people may not like this and say that everything happened too fast, characters like Damian don’t exist. And you know, maybe guys like Damian don’t exist but I wish they did. He played such a powerful role in the story and I completely fell in love with him from the time I read the summary. Personally, I felt that he was realistic. The things I wanted to happen ended up happening but I could see a real boy acting the same way as he did – emotional, quiet, and the artsy “bad boy”.

Cora and her family were also realistic characters. I’ve never lost any siblings so I’ve never seen it happen with my own family but I could see other families closing down and reacting  in the same way. Cora was fierce and independent in her own way and it all fit in perfectly with the story.

The plot was original – I loved the part maps and art played in everything. It moved quickly but everything was spread out nicely so it all worked. The only thing I wasn’t overly fond of was the ending – I wish there had been more closure, especially between Damian and Cora.

I’ve been recommending this book like crazy already and I definitely recommend that everyone reading this picks up a copy ASAP.


15 Responses to "A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell"

Books in prose! Yayyyy (:

I also adored Song of the Sparrow and I can’t wait to read this one. I’ve read some mixed reviews on it, but since I’m a fan of Lisa’s I think I’ll enjoy it.

I really am in love with the cover for this one, and it sounds like an amazing book. Great review!

I have this book for review! Thanks to your review, I will have to read it sooner! 😉

Nice review. I’ve never read anything by her yet, so I might have to pick this up. I LOVE the cover. 🙂


I’ve been waiting forever for my copy to come. This one is just right. Thanks for the review.

ahh…another realistic treat. the plot is so hearttouching and original. i want!

This is somewhere in the middle of my TBR pile, but after reading your review, I’m moving it up to first. I hope it’s as good as you say it is. I love it when the characters jump off the page like you mentioned, so I bet i’ll love this book.

I just ordered this of Barnes and Noble. Can’t wait to read it! I haven’t read Song of Sparrows yet, though my friend has it. Maybe I’ll borrow it? Nice review, too.

I loved Song of the Sparrow and was so excited when I heard that Sandell was having another book. I admit to hoping it was in verse as well, but from the snatches I’ve read of this I think I’ll like it quite a bit!

I’ve seen the cover of this book a million times and love it and now you have convinced me that I have to read it. I have Song of the Sparrow on my TBR list, so I’ll be adding this one to it now! Thanks for sharing such a great review!

“Art, friendship, and love” sounds good to me! And I’ve heard great things about Lisa Ann Sandell’s other books, so I’ll look for this one!

really spectacular book i actually cried while reading it. such a heart filling book i reallly feel for the characters in this book!

it smells like ass

dhis book smells like chulo!
SonrisAs& bubbles was rqht hea =]

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