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I love that I never know who I’m going to meet next in New York. Sometimes I imagine all these millions of kids who have come here like jeweled doorknobs marked “turn me.” It’s an Alice-in-Wonderland kind of city” –The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone, Adele Griffin

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Summary

Addison Stone, gifted artist, sensational celebrity, daughter, friend, lover, and student, suddenly dies under mysterious circumstances. Her short unfinished life leaves puzzling questions to everyone around her. Was she murdered? If so, why? In this shocking biography, the voices of Addison’s loved ones piece together the fragmented image of Addison Stone from her early childhood to her untimely death.

About the book

Title: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone

Author: Adele Griffin

Series: N/A

Pages: 256

Year Published: 2014

Genres: young adult fiction, fiction, mock biography, mystery, romance, contemporary

The Review

Addison Stone is the enigmatic artist whose death shocked the world into a state of disbelief. This book is her biography with insider interviews from the people she was closest to. Before you begin Googling “who is Addison Stone,” don’t bother, she is not a real person. This cleverly written mock biography is so convincing, I was sure that I was reading about a real person. It feels as if I had heard her story before.

It has been nearly a year since I listened to the audiobook version of this book. The story is so haunting, and the voices of the characters seems so convincing, I honestly can’t get this book out of my mind. A few weeks ago, I reviewed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by: Ransom Riggs (see review). What I liked best about the novel is the use of antique photographs to enhance the story. One thing I missed by listening to The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone was the artwork featured in the book. The author had hired a few artists to create pieces of artwork for the novel, including images representing Addison Stone.

The entire book is told through interviews and articles. The unique structure of the book creates a fragmented image of Addison Stone. Some of the stories are contradictory. Eventually, you begin to realize that everyone has a motive when telling their side of the story. Most of the characters try to assure how close they were to Addison Stone, as if they wanted to claim her success for themselves.

I recently ended up reading the novel once more (this time in book form), and I really liked the structure of the book. The structure really reminded me of a celebrity’s biography full of interviews, magazine covers and personal photographs. I really loved seeing “Addison Stone’s” artwork which really made her come alive in my eyes.

Before reading the novel, I thought this was a mystery novel trying to find out who killed her or  how she died. Instead, the question asked throughout the novel isn’t how, but why did she die? If you are expecting a straightforward answer to this question at the end of the novel, you will not find it. Instead, you have to distinguish for yourself which story sounds reliable enough to be taken as truth. The biographer (narrator) isn’t very reliable either as she uses Addison Stone’s death in order to sell her book. I ended up realizing why this story sounded so familiar. Celebrities are painted in such a way as to be mysterious, glamorous and unreachable. If a celebrity dies young, then they are canonized and their music, art, movies, books etc. becomes an instant success, as with subsequent documentaries, movies, and biographies based on their life.

Addison Stone is the poster child of a promising celebrity whose life ended too soon. In many ways, her death becomes more significant than her life. As the readers of her biography, we also become part of the chain of trying to define her. I was hypnotized by the interviews of Addison’s life. I was astounded by how Adele Griffin was able to create such a believable character.

I would recommend this book to: art lovers, fans of the photography in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and those who enjoy books told through interviews and articles.

Final rating: A

Until next time,

-Alice

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