HATED this book. One of the most sexist narratives I've ever read, and from a woman, to boot. Emerson Watts is comfortable in her own skin. She loves...moreHATED this book. One of the most sexist narratives I've ever read, and from a woman, to boot. Emerson Watts is comfortable in her own skin. She loves video games, medical documentaries, and hanging out with her equally nerdy best friend Christopher. Until a bizarre accident makes her a participant in a brain transplant meant to save her life, in which she's given the body - and forced to take over the identity - of a world-famous teen supermodel.
Leaving the sheer bloody ludicrousness of the plot aside, the message this book is sending - to teen girls no less - is that it's not okay or enough to just have interests and be yourself and have nerdy interests that make you totally hot to a lot of guys (something the book was conspicuously silent on, do you know how many guys would love a woman who plays video games? A LOT). Yuu can't *just* be smart and have interesting hobbies and your own personality - you must ALSO have the body of a supermodel and a smile that turns virtually every guy who sees into jelly.
Because at the end of the day, why settle for being yourself? When you can be smart, nerdy, AND hot? Thus fulfilling every male fantasy ever???? Seriously if Cabot had created a female character with men in mind she couldn't have done a better job. Em in this novel is the teenage epitome of Gillian Flynn's accurately-sketched, terrible Cool Girl. The representation of Male Desire and its supremacy in culture and in narrative.
I HATED this novel with every fiber of my literature-loving, chick-lit-loving, feminist body. Excuse me while I go read some Kafka, *anything*, to get this taste out of my mouth.
P.S. Em dies at the beginning - her body does rather - when a TV falls on her. I'm not making this stuff up, folks. (less)
Keep in mind I am rating this for the genre, so it's not 5 stars as a work of classic literature but 5 stars for a chick lit romance. Extraordinarily...moreKeep in mind I am rating this for the genre, so it's not 5 stars as a work of classic literature but 5 stars for a chick lit romance. Extraordinarily lovely character development, gripping plot that doesn't falter - probably my second favorite Lisa Kleypas (I am on some kind of roll with her). (less)
Stellar chic-lit, hands-down my favorite of all the Lisa Kleypas books I've read. I'm excited to read more in the Hathaway series as opposed to Kleypa...moreStellar chic-lit, hands-down my favorite of all the Lisa Kleypas books I've read. I'm excited to read more in the Hathaway series as opposed to Kleypas' other series, which I like but don't love. (less)
Crisp, assured, and romantic. The first two chapters are a little rough but this is something of a mini tour-de-force for Ashley Weaver. LOVED it and...moreCrisp, assured, and romantic. The first two chapters are a little rough but this is something of a mini tour-de-force for Ashley Weaver. LOVED it and can't wait to read more by her. (less)
Sarah Brandt and Irish detective inspector Frank Malloy return to the streets of New York in this fourteenth book in the Gaslight series, and it's an...moreSarah Brandt and Irish detective inspector Frank Malloy return to the streets of New York in this fourteenth book in the Gaslight series, and it's an odd reversal of strengths and weaknesses for the author. The plot and pacing are significantly stronger - despite a melodramatic center, the reveals are made gradually and deftly and underscored with enough evidence and character development to make sense. The pacing is sharp and the book is as gripping and perhaps even more gripping than most Victoria Thompson novels - a mini page-turner that is hard to put down. Yet, for all that the plot is finer-tuned and more confident than in previous Gaslight novels, the relationships and emotional element are oddly muted. Sarah and Frank have multiple interactions in the novel, even several at her house, but they discuss strictly business with nothing else in the air at all, and despite significant changes happening in Frank's relationship with Sarah's parents, the relationship that itself stands at the heart of the series - that between Frank and Sarah - is neither developed nor even really included. It's not just that it's static - it's that their interactions are dry. After thirteen novels, shouldn't we be getting something more than this? It would be one thing if we were given to believe the characters are happier apart than together - yet Thompson is at pains to show us they are not, without ever delivering any romantic or familial advancement at all. It's puzzling and frustrating.
Sarah's mother provides the one human note in the novel, and is very refreshing and occasionally funny in her determination to insert herself into the investigation. Yet with murder suspects and other characters who are well-written but not particularly sympathetic, and a denouement, which, to keep from spoilers, let's just say hardly gives one a reassuring sense of justice being resoundingly done, there's not a lot to engage with in this novel. It's a solidly constructed murder mystery and a very sound historical novel, as per usual, but it's missing the heart Thompson generally includes. Here's hoping the next one is a return to form. (less)
That. Was powerhouse, firecracker good. A bulletrain of a novel that's brilliantly crafted, endlessly gripping, and while unflinching about violence a...moreThat. Was powerhouse, firecracker good. A bulletrain of a novel that's brilliantly crafted, endlessly gripping, and while unflinching about violence and human evil, has enough redemptive notes to give it a measure of buoyancy. More finely-tuned than Stieg Larsson, but many of the same elements - I'll be reading a lot more Jo Nesbo in the future. (less)