Title: The Gazebo
Author: Emily McGlashan
Growing up and trying to be accepted as part of a crowd when you are already in a minority, is never easy but for teenager, Lola Tarapachii, life is far more complicated than just the usual adolescent angsts. With an alcoholic mother and a severely depressed older brother, Lola has to face responsibilities far beyond her years. An unexpected fire in the school dining hall, leads to Lola making life-changing relationships with an eclectic family of youths who accept her for who she is, share her troubles and help her tackle the hardest decision she has ever had to make…
The Gazebo is an excellent take on the tumultuous teenage years. The characters jump off of the page and are extremely relatable, no matter your age.
Author Emily McGlashan is a young writer, but her work is well beyond her years. The Gazebo presents the experience of Lola Tarapachii, a minority teenager, and her experience with prejudice at school. Lola’s story is also presented through her home life – having to take care of an alcoholic mother and a brother with severe depression – and the novel illustrates how Lola’s life is deeply impacted by the adult responsibilities that have been thrown at her.
I found The Gazebo to be a gorgeous novel that relates to anyone who has ever felt like an outcast, and I was impressed by McGlashan’s unabashed way of confronting the dark side of the teenage years. One of the best things about The Gazebo is that since McGlashan is young, she represented the teenage years in a realistic way that many adult authors don’t grasp quite as well. I could tell that McGlashan used her own experiences to guide her writing and bring out the truth in oppression, and I couldn’t help but fly through this novel. As someone who has dealt with severe depression for a large part of my life, I appreciated the character of Lola’s brother and the realistic nature of his condition. Lola’s struggle with wanting to care for her brother, but feeling helpless herself, illustrated the struggle of those who care for loved ones with mental illness, and this is not a position that I see often in literature. The Gazebo is a beautiful take on the minority experience, and how the teenage years deeply affect us into adulthood.
I adore authors who don’t sugarcoat life, and the heartbreaking moments in The Gazebo will stay with me for years to come. Even though this novel is less than 100 pages it packs an emotional punch, and it changes the reader’s perspective. The only reason I didn’t rate The Gazebo 5/5 is due to some inconsistent language, run on sentences, and punctuation, but the weight of the story heavily overpowers the flaws. If you are looking for a gorgeous novel that will profoundly affect you, then The Gazebo is a novel that you must read.