**spoiler alert** (My actual rating for this book is 2.5, or it would be, if Goodreads would just implement half-stars. Alas.)
I wanted to like this. I**spoiler alert** (My actual rating for this book is 2.5, or it would be, if Goodreads would just implement half-stars. Alas.)
I wanted to like this. I really did. Lesbian YA is something we SO need more of in the world, rather desperately.
The pacing was good, the prose just the right mix of stark and lyrical (although with an overdramatic flair that Diemer's writing tends to have as a trademark, so I'm never quite sure whether to be critical or tolerant of it). The characters were a tad towards the two-dimensional side, especially Lottie, the narrator, and the affection between Lottie and Charlie just seemed to pop into the narrative mostly unannounced, but all in all, I was enjoying it.
(I also very much liked that there was no big deal about Lottie's attraction to Charlie -- the fact that they were gay was secondary to the fact that they fancied each other. I'm all for queer visibility in my books, but sometimes I think the best way to do this is to show, not tell, and to show it like you would a hetero romance -- this story did that well.)
Around chapter 5, suddenly, things began to unravel. The pacing went haywire, Lottie and Charlie were inexplicably "in love" despite having no chemistry or conflict to knit them together, the tension, both macro and micro, vanished like a sigh in a roaring wind, the climax was rushed and seemed terribly, terribly unfinished. Lottie's reasons for going from a soul-eating monster to guilty not-soul-eating monster were never expanded, which was a pity; I think exploring this could have made her a well-fleshed out character instead of the mostly two-dimensional one she is.
I was enveloped in the book for the first five chapters, for the rest I kind of felt like I was only half-watching something passingly interesting on television. It was disappointing, because it started off beautifully....more
First thing first about this book: it is large. It's a coffee-table sized (the same size as a coffee-table book, I mean, not the size of a coffee-tablFirst thing first about this book: it is large. It's a coffee-table sized (the same size as a coffee-table book, I mean, not the size of a coffee-table) and HEAVY. Drop it on someone's head from a decent enough height and I daresay you'd do them a fair amount of damage.
Secondly, it is full-colour and glossy, jam-packed with illustrations and handwritten pieces from Emilie herself, photos, scans of appropriate...objects (I'm trying to stay spoiler-free here; chances are I won't be able to), so on so forth. Ms Autumn put a lot of heart, soul, and hard work into this book, and it really does show. There are a few typos here and there, however, which hopefully will be spotted and corrected in further editions.
There has been a lot of debate about what's true and what's not in this book; as I could be here forever if I tried to sort out my feelings when it comes to that, I'll simply keep this review focused on its merits as a story/book, and leave the detective work for another day.
We have two stories running parallel to each other: Emilie's story of her stay in a modern-day psychiatric hospital, and Emily-with-a-y's forced incarceration at "The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls". The details of the latter are delivered to Emilie on a daily basis via notes that pop up in her notebook each morning.
Both stories are written so that you want to dig your teeth further into the story, it leaves you wanting to read more. The characters (especially in Emily's letters) are, for the most part, fascinating and well-rounded.
The ending, however...it sort of hit me like a slap in the face. "WHAM, DONE." ...really? After all that? It seemed tacked-on, urgently done with little lead-up. I would have like to read more about Emilie's stay, how she got on after leaving hospital, etc., etc. As a fellow bipolar sufferer, it really was wonderful to read the thoughts and feelings of someone who's very much on the same page as myself....more