I had mixed feelings about this book. The premise was great and the main storyline was well thought out. Jacob gets power of indestructibility, tests...moreI had mixed feelings about this book. The premise was great and the main storyline was well thought out. Jacob gets power of indestructibility, tests limits, finds that there is a catch that makes the power more of a curse than a blessing.
There were two main problems that I had with this book.
The first happened early on. Jacob is introduced to Ophelia by his best friend, Milo. She has been wanting to meet him to let him be the first and only person to sign her cast. There doesn't seem to be a good reason for this. Oh (her preferred nickname) is a new student who meets Milo first. I understand that she feels like it might make Jacob's day if he is the first to sign her cast since he just lost his foster father, but she had never met him. It just seemed like a clunky deus ex machina. "Why does she do this?" "Because it is necessary for the story." There doesn't seem to be any other explanation.
The other is a time-honored tradition that I find irksome. Any great power from history has to be linked to a famous historical figure. I won't spoil it, but when Jacob discovers where his foster father got the power, it is no surprise as the book had been nudging and winking almost half the book at this huge reveal. I understand the desire to invoke historical figures, but it comes off as name-dropping in this sense. Especially the way it's done here.
Other than those two things, the rest of the book is a good read. Once Jacob and Oh start dating, which it seems to be preordained before they even meet, their relationship seems natural if you can just forget that the author practically had them dating since before they even met. If you can get around the scene where we get to hear about the foster father brush with fame, then the rest of the book is a decent read.(less)
Until two days ago, I had never heard of a novel written in verse. I picked this up to use in a sample unit plan for one of my English Education class...moreUntil two days ago, I had never heard of a novel written in verse. I picked this up to use in a sample unit plan for one of my English Education classes fully expecting to at least appreciate and hopefully like it. I was blown away by not only how well the story was told, but by the story as well. Amazed would not be too strong a word at all.
It didn't hurt that I identified with Robin Murphy at all, of course. I graduated from high school in 1991. Up until recently, geeks were the social pariahs of my high school. My son has followed in my footsteps, but has a huge clique of friend. I didn't have that until my senior year. Like Robin, I was mocked in school pretty much all my life. First I was gawky, then I was fat, then I lost the weight, but was just too much of a geek to fit in. Once I graduated and started college, I found myself in much the same situation of finally fitting in. Due to circumstances mostly under my control, I left college and only recently returned. That feeling of being among friends and peers is still very much a part of what I love about it.
Now that my credentials are in order, I must say that Sonya Sones picked up the feelings that I felt in high school with 100% accuracy. Even when I had a girlfriend, things never went right. I didn't handle the mocking as well as he did, and the girls didn't either in a couple of cases. I loved Robin's reaction to temptation. It was very realistic and matched what I think most anyone might do in his situation.
I am a 38-year-old man (or, as Robin would say, 38 and 5/6) who likes getting emotionally invested in the books I read. I found myself alternately angry, cheering, smiling, and even crying (a lot) while reading this book. In fact, my greatest moment of rage and disappointment came when I reached the last page. I turned back and forth twice to make sure I hadn't skipped a page. I didn't want it to end.
Alas, all good reads must end, and this was a very good read.(less)