YOU DON'T TAKE A SUBJECT LIKE SEXUAL ASSAULT AND TREAT IT LIKE A PLOT DEVICE.
YOU DON'T DO IT.
I am BEYOND enraged.
Aside from that -- this boo...moreYOU DON'T TAKE A SUBJECT LIKE SEXUAL ASSAULT AND TREAT IT LIKE A PLOT DEVICE.
YOU DON'T DO IT.
I am BEYOND enraged.
Aside from that -- this book was flimsy. Every character was flat. Carolyn, our resident MPDG, was boring as she was "mysterious". At no point did I even buy into the camp, which Cam Post actually manages to make you question, the marker of a truly wonderful book. I ended up rolling my eyes a lot until I got to...well.
**spoiler alert** What the fuck? I cannot understand how people are giving it 5-star reviews because this was one of the worst things I've ever read.
I...more**spoiler alert** What the fuck? I cannot understand how people are giving it 5-star reviews because this was one of the worst things I've ever read.
I couldn't believe the whole book was so black and white. Kate, a victim of horrible abuse at the hands of her mother, has been ridiculed by her peers for her appearance for years. In fact, they physically abuse her too (wtf that scene)! But her knight on a white horse comes to her rescue in the form of Henry, her friend from childhood who has recently moved back to town. Henry is The Perfect Man. He's rich, kind, generous, and has loved Kate ever since they were little...even though he moved away.
Henry finds Kate irresistible. In fact, we are told that Kate's beauty is what her peers, especially the girls, hate about her. It Cannot Be Diminished By Her Circumstances. Henry has no problem getting Kate to fall in love with him, though she refuses to tell him about her home life. Which, in all fairness, is really really horrible.
But the whole thing was gross. Kate had no autonomy. Henry saved her. He swooped in and literally is her salvation. She isn't able to do anything without him. Also, everyone loves Kate. Everyone who matters, that is. Which is Henry and his whole wonderful family. THEY LOVE HER IMMEDIATELY. THEY ARE THE PERFECT FAMILY. HIS MOTHER MAKES PUMPKIN SOUP AND SERVES IT IN HOLLOW PUMPKINS. HIS GRANDFATHER GIVES HER $1000 SIMPLY BECAUSE HE CAN SEE THAT SHE IS HENRY'S SOULMATE.
And why? I don't know. Kate is always telling herself that she doesn't deserve him and he's too good for her and, well, he's her only friend. GROSS. This story could have totally set Kate up as an awesome female protagonist, doing the best despite her circumstances, and using her own tools to love Henry AND to escape her abuse, but instead it's Henry who does everything for her. I mean, don't men always?
Henry even proposes at the end, even though they're 17. I don't know what 13-year-old wrote this book, but it was atrocious. It's some pathetic fantasy concocted out of soap opera-worthy melodrama, written by a woman who clearly believes that only men can save battered women. I had trouble believing that this book actually existed and that I was reading it. But, you know, why shouldn't it be? Millions of idiots love Twilight; why shouldn't they also love this piece of trash?
EDIT: The more I think about this book, the more upset I am. I actually think this is one of those novels doing a disservice to young women living with domestic violence because it tells them that only a man can come save them. This will make it far more likely for these young women to go from one abusive situation into another one, becoming emotionally dependent on their "savior", and unable to develop their independence. For example, Kate, who leaves her mother only to go to Henry.
(Let's not even go into Kate's mother's depression and mental illness, which is an incredibly sad story in itself...)
This isn't to say that Henry isn't a paragon of virtue, because apparently he's the Greatest Dude Ever. Which is awesome for Kate and all, since that really could've ended poorly. But Bennett could have easily EASILY made Kate the hero of her own story. I know I'm getting all rah-rah feminist (WHICH I HAPPEN TO THINK IS GREAT), but honestly, I saw this kind of stuff every day with my young female clients.
That being said, this thing was just crock full of shit. I apparently forgot to address the part where the Mean Girl bully beats the crap out of Kate at school. Like, physically, on the floor of the girls' bathroom, beats the crap out of her. It's needlessly violent and gratuitous. But once the truth about Kate's home life is revealed, suddenly the bully is all apologetic and weepy. Like, "SORRY FOR BEATING YOU UP. I THOUGHT YOU WERE ALL GROSS AND SMELLY AND STUFF. I TOTES WOULDN'T HAVE DONE THAT IF I KNEW YOU WERE GETTING BEATEN ON AT HOME. MY B." And Kate's all, "NBD, girl, I got you."
AND THEN THEY BECOME FRIENDS.
So...what's the message I'm getting here? That it was okay for her to beat Kate up had Kate NOT been from an abusive home? Or, maybe, and I'm going out on a limb here, Bennett could have made it clear that such bullying and violence is abhorrent under ANY circumstance. I'm not saying that Bennett was condoning the physical and emotional bullying by justifying it like that. I'm saying that was how it read in the book and I just wish that Jessica (was that her name?) could have undergone her own transformation in a different way as well.
In conclusion: if you're a sane person with rational ideas about how people should treat each other and you like strong female characters, you're probs going to want to throw your ebook reader against the wall. I wish I could give this NEGATIVE STARS. I know I shouldn't expect YA authors to be role models, BUT THEY ARE, because youth read their books and are influenced by them and TAKE THEM TO HEART. And that's why books like this and Twilight INFURIATE me. At least Henry doesn't creep into Kate's bedroom to watch her sleep. We should be telling young women that THEY ARE STRONG AND THEY ARE THE PROTAGONISTS OF THEIR OWN STORY AND THEY SHOULD NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THEMSELVES. We should never, ever tell them that they can only be someone in relation to someone else.
**spoiler alert** Read this after watching the first two episodes of the show from ABC Family, but wtf. And there's like a million of these! Why would...more**spoiler alert** Read this after watching the first two episodes of the show from ABC Family, but wtf. And there's like a million of these! Why would anyone waste time and effort to slog through this crap?! It's trying really hard to be Veronica Mars crossed with The OC, but really, I'M DONE WITH ALL THESE BOOK SERIES ABOUT RICH TEENAGERS.
Things I Liked:
1. Gaaayyyyyyyy. Applaud. I think I usually find bisexual or gay men in YA books and very few lesbian characters unless that's specific to the book, so that's cool, but it doesn't save the book from being a piece of shit.
2. I don't even know.
The whole thing is so slow that the entire first book is basically the pilot of the show.
PS. Making out shirtless with your sister's boyfriend IS NOT OKAY no matter how much of a heinous bitch she is. WAY TO TEACH SOME MORALS.(less)
It felt like reading an older version of Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep, which has always left me a weird feeling. Like, it's just weighed down with so much...moreIt felt like reading an older version of Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep, which has always left me a weird feeling. Like, it's just weighed down with so much ambivalence and misery. Weitz's character, Natalie, at least gains autonomy near the end, but ugh, the guy, THE GUY. Every time she's with him I wanted to throw the book into a wall!
Overall, the book didn't feel as transformative as I wanted it to be for Natalie. And I spent the majority of the novel being annoyed with her and her inability to JUST LET PEOPLE BE NICE TO HER. At least she wasn't as insufferable as Sittenfeld's Lee Fiora.
Oh, and I almost forgot: no means yes? WHAT A SHITTY SHITTY MESSAGE, WEITZ. NO MEANS NO.(less)
I would maybe rate this actually somewhere between two and three stars, though it's hard to say. It's a quick read and I don't feel like very much hap...moreI would maybe rate this actually somewhere between two and three stars, though it's hard to say. It's a quick read and I don't feel like very much happened, but as we know, I am a sucker for all books about baby dykes.
The blurb makes this sound like a love story, which it is not. And the trend of baby dykes falling in love with closeted straight girls is so sad and heartbreaking. Also, I am ALWAYS way more curious about the closeted straight girls than I am about the characters who are out. Or, at least, to some degree. I LOVED Cameron Post, but I wanted to know what happened to Coley. Badly. Just, being so closeted must be the worst and it must be so hard to struggle with that and I am interested in it...maybe I'll have to write that book though.
Anyway, Jesse is this young, out lesbian who wears combat boots and hates the Man. Emily is VP of the student council, wears J. Crew sweaters, and is generally as straight as you can get. Every week they make out in the handicapped bathroom at the local library. But then Jesse gets involved in a political cause that Emily is on the other side of and the two of them have to deal with it.
(view spoiler)[The problem is, it's not very well fleshed out. Emily is...well, she's kind of a blind idiot. In fact, for most of her passages, I found her extremely difficult to sympathize with, considering she was fucking around with Jesse's feelings and her whole deal with NorthStar. The only times I felt for her was when she was describing the way she felt about Jesse.
The other thing is, why were they even in love with each other? It's not like they talked. All they did was make out for once a week for a year. Which, okay, but I mean, I...would be bored after a year.
Jesse's character is sympathetic but not original. Probably because Madeleine George is from Amherst. I recognize a Jesse anywhere. Essentially, I was bored by her. Also, Esther??? I don't really understand the role her character played. Was it supposed to be Manic Pixie Girl? She wasn't quite twee enough. I mean, undoubtedly she would treat Jesse better, but there's no indication of how she felt or whatever and she was supposedly "so weird".
This book felt like it started off well and I was interested, but it ultimately culminated in a boring fashion. Too many loose threads, rubbish ending, and the characters fall flat of a promise. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It was very engaging and the beginning sucked me right in, but the quirky satire schtick got real old, real fast. Kippy's shortsightedness, awkwardnes...moreIt was very engaging and the beginning sucked me right in, but the quirky satire schtick got real old, real fast. Kippy's shortsightedness, awkwardness, and lack of subtlety did not make her an enjoyable protagonist. Ruth was only revealed as ENORMOUSLY HORRIBLE in her journal entries (which Kippy accepts in the end??????). We get no insight into the murderer. I mean, barely any. The bumbling sheriff angle was ludicrous, and moreover just frustrating. The psych facility was probably the worst part, filled with stereotypes -- it only served to reinforce already damaging ideas about individuals struggling with mental illness.
I think people either love or hate this. I didn't hate it, but you can definitely put me in the "dislike" camp. I stuck around mostly because I had committed to finishing the book, and I wanted to see if my guess for the murderer was right.(less)
Took me a long time to read for no reason in particular. The book itself is fairly light. I'm not sure why it's getting all the praise or whatever it'...moreTook me a long time to read for no reason in particular. The book itself is fairly light. I'm not sure why it's getting all the praise or whatever it's garnering. I mean, it's just not that interesting. Like, this is a dull brick of a novel. Don't read it if you're expecting high levels of entertainment because it will just be this mediocre read that you'll feel pretty much over with by page 10.
Basically, this is the dystopian Bachelor. The world-building has potential to be interesting, but we unfortunately never get to it because all the first book is about is this love triangle (which wasn't the worst, but certainly not anything to write home about). The main character's name is America, which really is the worst, and there's a lot of girls hating on girls, which I LOATHE.
Otherwise it's pretty unoffensive. It's just boring. By all means, please read if you enjoy boring description, flat characters, and lack of plot.
EDIT: Hey, guess what IS offensive to me? People trolling through Goodreads reviews and telling people who didn't like the book that they basically have no right to dislike it. I DISLIKED THE BOOK, FUCKERS, WHADDAYA GONNA DO???? WRITE A BETTER BOOK NEXT TIME.(less)
I love Gatsby SUPER HARD, and I found this to be a bit lackluster. I mean, to start off with -- it's the exact same thing.
(view spoiler)[Also, what wa...moreI love Gatsby SUPER HARD, and I found this to be a bit lackluster. I mean, to start off with -- it's the exact same thing.
(view spoiler)[Also, what was the deal with making Naomi not gay? Nick is CLEARLY GAY. If you were so determined to stick to canon, just go ahead and make Naomi in LUUUUUV with Jacinta.
Overall, this was too true to Gatsby, and felt formulaic in a way. At first I enjoyed seeing the modern-day versions of the characters, but then I got kind of bored. But this did make me feel way worse for Gatsby than the original ever did. In the original I mostly think Jay Gatsby is super naive and kind of dumb, and in this one...well, I felt similarly, but also TERRIBLE. God, Delilah. :|
(I wish it hadn't been a car accident. I feel like that could've been done better.)
Things that bothered me: that throwaway mention of Naomi's butch BFF who she didn't think was attractive because she dressed like a dude, but some girls must have been into that. Her saying that Jacinta and Delilah weren't "real lesbians". "Feminist" jokes or whatever bullshit. It felt preachy. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Ugh, the lamest. The protagonist is whiny, annoying, and just someone I absolutely loathed. Hated most of the story for being infuriatingly dull. Had...moreUgh, the lamest. The protagonist is whiny, annoying, and just someone I absolutely loathed. Hated most of the story for being infuriatingly dull. Had some moments of excitement, but honestly, I am not at all motivated to find out what happens.(less)
This took me weeks to get through because I stopped listening to it for a period of time. I didn't like the narration, in particular certain voices of...moreThis took me weeks to get through because I stopped listening to it for a period of time. I didn't like the narration, in particular certain voices of hers. It drove me nuts that Udo, no matter how sincere he was being, always sounded extremely condescending. A lot of the writing was straight up AWFUL. Someone else said that the shortenings of words like "sandwich" into "sanwies" (?? I can't remember it that was it exactly, since I didn't have the text in front of me) drove them insane. I hated that so much, as well as Flora calling the loo the "potty", like she's a two-year-old. Every time Udo said "pigface", I actually rolled my eyes. Ridiculous, made up cuss words are among one of my many fantasy book pet peeves.
I found most of the characters pretty unlikeable, including at times Flora. Were we supposed to become sympathetic toward Valefor? I found him pretty underhanded and awful throughout the entire thing, no excuses. The book was awfully drawn out on the whole Valefor-Flora storyline, particularly as the reader could sense that whole thing imploding in Flora's face from the very beginning.
I would have preferred if the book had focused more on Flora's parents. All the stuff with her father I found pretty interesting, but I also wanted to know more about her mother and the whole thing around the first Flora. I suspect that'll come up in the other two books, which I'm pretty sure I will not be reading or listening to.
There were aspects of the world that I appreciated -- Flora is a strong young heroine. There was no romance. Her mother is the general of Califa. There were many very dark elements to the story, and that was pretty cool in a children's book. But the book was also longwinded. I spent a long time wishing that I could just get to the end already. I can certainly see why children would like this story -- it has magic and pirates and soldiers (a little too much military stuff for me), but perhaps as an adult, I just had no patience for this.(less)
**spoiler alert** Idk, I guess I just felt like this third book should have been more substantial given that it wraps the trilogy up. I spent a lot of...more**spoiler alert** Idk, I guess I just felt like this third book should have been more substantial given that it wraps the trilogy up. I spent a lot of this book NOT CARING about what was happening. So much stuff felt stupidly extraneous? Like, a lot of the woods-wandering and whatever.
I liked the Hana chapters a lot more than the Lena chapters. I think I found life within just more interesting in general, and Hana's creepy Bluebeard husband was SUPER CREEPS, so good job with that, Oliver.
Was this the end? I can't even tell???
Also, it was not a surprise to anyone that Alex was still in love with Lena because duh, this is a YA trilogy and whatever. I was a bit disappointed that the book didn't buck stereotypes. Anyway, I never particularly liked Alex, but Lena seemed to mostly pity love Julian, so idk. NO STRONG FEELINGS THERE THE LOVE TRIANGLE WAS THE WORST.(less)