So I'm only sometimes compelled to write a review of the books I read, but I feel obligated to do so with this book because oh.my.gosh, what the eff iSo I'm only sometimes compelled to write a review of the books I read, but I feel obligated to do so with this book because oh.my.gosh, what the eff is up with this cover. I need people to know - seriously do not judge this book by its cover. (Also, if you're not convinced of how terrible this cover is, let me make a point of saying that it's metallic & shimmery in person.)
On to my review!
I'm not going to attempt to summarize this book because after some contemplation, I realized there is a quite a bit going on, and it's one of those stories in which the parts that are really important are probably really different from reader to reader. Instead, I'll give you the players I find worth discussing:
Briony: our beautiful & wicked narrator who happens to be a witch and has the second sight, allowing her to see and communicate with other-worldly beings Rose: Briony's twin sister who is mentally disabled and possibly dying of swamp cough, the former condition being the one for which Briony holds herself responsible Eldric: Briony's best friend who turns into her "lust" interest (as she claims she's incapable of love) Stepmother: the person Briony holds in the highest esteem but who has died of arsenic poisoning under mysterious circumstances just before the time Briony begins telling her story Boggy Mun: a powerful & somewhat malicious other-worldly being who inhabits the swamp which is being drained by Eldric's father in order to develop the land
I really liked this book. I felt like it was very well-written with a fair amount of plot going on, yet it somehow seemed more about the characters than the story, and I'm more of a character-lady than a plot-lady. I loved Briony, and I loved knowing what she was thinking. She was so well-developed and thought out as a character because she doesn't know herself as well as she thinks she does. She is so careful about revealing what she's thinking or letting anyone close to the "real" Briony, and she thinks she has guarded herself so thoroughly, but people know her better than she realizes. I think we'd all like to pretend we're unpredictable and indefinable, but realistically the people who care about us know us really well. I felt like this human tendency was very well developed in Chime.
Because the main character is a witch, I don't think the story goes in an expected direction because in the end, it's really a story about redemption and family and forgiveness and acceptance and love. And definitely not just romantic love. Don't read Chime expecting there to be magic and spells because you'll be disappointed and maybe confused. It's a really good book not just a really good YA book.
Which makes the stupid cover all the more shameful. Shameful!...more
This book is about the very tiny, very safe town of Cryer's Cross (so safe that people leave their car keys under their floor mats) where two teens haThis book is about the very tiny, very safe town of Cryer's Cross (so safe that people leave their car keys under their floor mats) where two teens have recently gone missing, leaving no clues whatsoever to their whereabouts. The second of these teens is Nico Cruz, best friend and semi-boyfriend to Kendall Fletcher. Kendall has struggled her whole life to manage her OCD, and Nico's disappearance severely aggravates her disorder, making her feel that she can neither cope with her loss nor function normally.
So Cryer's Cross. I don't even know where to start discussing this story because I cannot even figure out what adjectives best describe it. Enthralling? Disturbing? Sincere? Realistic? Completely far-fetched? Whatever it was, it worked. McCann's writing style is very unusual - this book is the only one I've read by her, so by unusual I do not compare Cryer's Cross to any of her other books. By unusual, I mean she writes in present tense. Weird. And all of her sentences are very short, to the point. I'd say her phraseology is unique, but really, it's the use of present tense that makes the story just feel so...present. The entire book, I'm working through this terrible disappearance of Nico and trying to work out the emotions of how to grieve someone who Kendall so fully loved and knew and appreciated with her.
And Kendall. She's awesome. McCann's characterization just made so much sense. Kendall is this smart, great girl who is both a slightly off, immature teen and a self-possessed, fully-fleshed out person who knows exactly who she is. I won't discuss any of the other characters because it's just not worth spoilers, but they are all just such real people. I felt like I knew them even though some of them only have a line or two. The town itself was just so flawlessly designed, and it's like McCann chose to write about a town so small because she could control it so carefully. Good choice!
This book is genuinely creepy and frightening, and even at the moments when I felt like there was something bordering silly worked into the story, a sentence later I'd be so wrapped up in the book again I'd forget my qualm. My suggestion when reading this book is to just allow yourself to experience it in all of its immediacy, and don't let your thoughts move you forward. This book isn't one that will shock you silly by some crazy twist ending, so don't worry about trying to "figure things out". Just read it, and go at Kendall's pace.
And I won't say "enjoy" because the word just doesn't fit....more