Vivian Rising
Daniella Brodsky
Downtown Press
ISBN-10: 1439172021

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The question “What am I going to do?” is simply too intense for Viv to answer with Grams dead on the other side of the door.

Vivian Skylar, food journalist and aspiring author, spent the majority of her life leaning on her grandmother’s confidence and strength. After Viv’s dad died and her mom decided abandonment was the answer, Grams became Viv’s mother figure and best friend. That dependability, that love, puts Viv in a bad spot when Grams dies…the bad spot being the bathroom in Gram’s hospital room. There, her attempts at coping with her grandmother’s death isn’t any easier.

It’s not surprising that a neon, pigeon shaped sign that reads ‘Pigeon Astrology’ grabbed Viv’s attention. What is surprising, definitely for a character who doubts the reliability of horoscopes, is that Viv would ring the apartment’s second floor bell. The moment Astrologer Kavia explains Viv’s horoscope, Vivian is hooked. Never has every corner of her soul been so bluntly spelled out.

In the beginning, her new dependency on Kavia’s forecasts and guidance seem all good. Viv avoids getting on a train Kavia predicts will crash and meets a wonderful guy named Len. Soon, Len and her grow such a bond that when the stars tell Viv that Len and her are not meant to be, Viv is back asking the same question from page one.

What is she going to do? Should she finally take control of her life or should she keep depending on Kavia and her horoscopes?

Daniella Brodsky did a beautiful job with Vivian Rising. The writing style is clear and full of funny, yet insightful comparisons and thoughts. The narrative fits well with the qoutes/passages in the beginning of each chapter; in fact, some of them still make me smile when they come to mind. All the characters, even the ones that only made a few appearances, had a startling realisticness to them.

When I first started reading, I expected astrology to take the story over. Not that I would have minded. I’m not a big astrology junkie, nor do I believe all of it is the absolute truth, but I do enjoy reading about my horoscope (Virgo, in case you’re curious).

Daniella didn’t let that happen, though. She made sure astrology was a back drop important to Vivian’s development.

I enjoyed Len and Vivian’s romance. Since I’m mostly a paranormal/fantasy reader, and much of the romance I’ve read in those genres often come across as over the top (I’m not big on romance), I found Len and Viv’s growing love refreshingly complex and simple. I loved the odd gifts they left each other, the disagreements, the time they spent both apart and together. Not once did I roll my eyes.

Vivian Rising is a story about what it means to take charge, cope with grief, and live life — all messages that none of us should miss out on.

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