Riddled With Senses by Petra Jacob

Title: Riddled With Senses
Author: Petra Jacob
Date Added: January 28, 2017
Date Started: March 19, 2017
Date Finished: May 14, 2017
Reading Duration: 56 days
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Magical Realism, LGBT

Pages: 248
Publication Date: January 22, 2017
Publisher: Dr. Cicero Books
Media: Paperback

Shares Paradigms With: The Slow Regard of Silent Things

A tale of love, drugs, cynicism and magic set in the late nineties. It is told from the perspective of two seventeen-year-old girls, Jitty and Hazel; in the style of magic realism, where the grime of real life can be morphed by the characters’ imaginations.

Jitty is a recluse who has created a world of magic to keep herself company. She secretly interferes in the life of the townspeople, including Hazel’s friend, Vurt. Hazel is a wild cynic on a course of self-destruction.

One stormy night their paths cross as the lightning flashes. Their brief relationship is intense, swinging from beautiful to ugly, as Hazel’s cynicism and Jitty’s innocence prove a terrible match.

From then on, Jitty, Hazel and Vurt each pursue their own route to madness; as drugs, magic and a dance with the Devil take control. This ends on one final night, after which their lives are changed forever.


Every now and again I find a story that contains a sliver of the mess that is me, what I couldn’t explain if I had all the words of a thousand tongues.  I cling to those narratives like a desperate climber to the skin of a stony peak recalling the piece that fit against my more jagged edges.  But then sometimes a story comes along that lays bare the thoughts in my inner sanctum, forces me to face them, and wonder how much of a facade I’ve been keeping up for all these years.  Thoughts yet coalesced made visible and presented in a world that could either be magical realism or drug induced haze.

Told in both the first and third person, taking place in the millennium’s last year, Riddled with Senses splits its time between Hazel and Jitty, first person and third, and these two are opposites who eventually come into union.  Hazel is cynicism incarnate.  It is the bitterness that blooms during the transition to adulthood when you start to see the world for what it really is, that shocking destruction of hope gifted to us from the fairy tales of youth into the putrid maw of the mundane and coarse.  She and her friends fight it with drugs and delusions of their own grandeur, but even in the midst of their highest highs, there’s a sense of futility.

I don’t believe in a state of maturity.  Adulthood is a simulacra.  These sofa-buying, mortgage-paying chuckleheads are as confused as we are, pretending that paying the bills, raising kids and ignoring the dust and shit thickening a crust on their souls is something they understand

I want to buy five copies of this novel and leave it in random places for people to pick up and read.

There are only so many revelations you have before they all become meaningless.

I love the taste of these words.  They’re random, scattered, and deliciously mad, yet they weave the lives before you in such brazen relief.

But that moment never comes.  I’m never broken enough to get fixed.

When Hazel meets Jitty, it’s like a train crashing into the wall of her cynicism.  The ginger haired whirlwind reminds me of Auri from The Slow Regard of Silent Things.  In psychological terms, Jitty would probably be considered obsessive compulsive.  She has created routines that she must follow.  A watch that she stops and follows the direction of the numbers, directives only of her own creation.  She sees the glow of goodness in everyone where Hazel sees pus.  Their relationship is doomed from the start, but the day she climbed through her window and took residence under her bed was the best sober day Hazel can recall.

They are a unity of opposites, but it is a unity that cannot hold.  Both the reader and Hazel know Jitty will leave her, realize her cynicism will drive her away, and the end of Riddled is less that and more just a close on this episode of these teenage lives.

This is not a book of blatant revelations, but rather smaller, much more profound ones.  Hazel does not change.  Jitty doesn’t change.  The drug induced delusions of grandeur continue as they stumble inexorably towards an adulthood they’ve already scorned.  None of them want to turn into the drooling blobs planted in front of screens, ignoring the squalor, yet they still have the sense that they’re mocking just for the sake of mockery.  Because this end seems fated no matter what they do.  What Hazel learns at the conclusion is how to pretend, and whether this farce will bring her and Jitty back together is up for speculation.  She doesn’t truly believe her friend Vurt can create a new universe, but all the rest of them seem so convinced that she learns to cage her spleen, and that may be the lesson after all.  Not to deny who you are, but to not allow bitterness to rob others of what they could possibly achieve even if failure is fated, and any point will fade like smoke from a joint.

5 stars.

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20 thoughts on “Riddled With Senses by Petra Jacob

    1. Even though Hazel is a teenager, I think you will definitely identify with her. I was utterly blown away by how much the things she said just resonated with me. It was so hard for her to break out of her cynical shell, and in all honesty looking at her situation, it was hard to blame her. This is shaping up to be my favorite standalone novel of the year!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. If you’re a cynic I think you’ll totally relate. I’m one, too, but I’m weird about it. Like I’ll be cynical with other like minded adults, but I’m NEVER like that around children. Children tend to be so hopeful and optimistic, and you don’t want to destroy that, and it’s weird, but being around kids who are like “I wanna be an astronaut!” makes me more hopeful like “You be an astronaut, tiny baby!”

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow, that’s just beautiful writing! Sorry I didn’t see this, I’ve been away, but thank you a thousand times for writing it. You’ve completely caught the spirit of the book, and I’m really proud that it resonated with you. Going to reblog now…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, you totally got it! I’m really sorry you’re feeling cynicism weighing you down – that’s a nasty spiral of doom I can get caught on too. You don’t really come across in your blog as cynical, analytical and intelligent, yes; but your blogs have so much energy and curiosity to them. Anyway, I hope you have some light and joyful moments today – and thank you very much for the review 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I try to curb it, and I think because I love writing and it’s a way for me to talk about what I really love, and I guess when I’m doing that there’s no need for me to be cynical. I think I get that way as a defense (and also because my country is trying to send us and the world down the tubes grrr) because outside of blogging, people can be sort of mean when I talk about my obsessions, but I don’t feel the need for my telltale cynicism here. Huh, it’s quite awesome actually.

          Good luck with the current story you’re working on! I can’t wait to read it 🙂

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          1. Well I’m glad we’ve got you in the blogging world, but sorry that you don’t get appreciated enough outside of it. You live in the US? That must be scary right now.
            I want you to read the book I’m writing too! (when i’ve finished mucking about with it) Your feedback would be really useful, so I might pester you with it at some point, if that’s ok.
            Have a gorgeous day!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I feel like the entire world is scary right now. We heard about what happened in London last night (as in I heard about it last night), and then Manchester last week. No, our so-called “leader” is not making things better ugh. It’s especially frustrating when the safe guards in place to prevent this kind of situation aren’t doing so because they only work if officials aren’t corrupted.

              Please do! I love being pestered by authors 😀

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              1. Well here’s hoping we can stay safe in scary world – at least we’re a lot less likely to die of scurvy than a few hundred years ago!
                And thank you, i shall pester you soon! 😀

                Liked by 1 person

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