A very different, fast-paced young adult thriller in which much of the action is the result of a deep connection via a photo-sharing app. The plot cenA very different, fast-paced young adult thriller in which much of the action is the result of a deep connection via a photo-sharing app. The plot centers around Hallie, our narrator, a shy girl drummer who is obsessed with the little-known band, Haze. Haze only ever had one album, and Hallie can’t get enough of listening to it, even though it was released five years earlier. One night, after her band has a gig, Hallie receives a message via a photo-sharing app … and she finds herself not only falling for the person at the other end, but also wondering if the person could indeed be Haze himself!
Hallie always seems to be in the shadow of her extrovert best friend and band-mate, Sarah. We see her get a little stage fright in the first chapter when she is performing, but later Hallie drives the action when it comes to getting to Haze's comeback gig. That's when the action kicks into high-gear, when Hallie, Sarah, and new next door neighbor (who also happens to run the preeminent Haze fan-site) go on a road trip to Haze’s show. There were so many twists and turns, and I was not expecting that ending at all!
The book did have its problems -- such as not giving enough attention to Very Real Issues that the supporting characters deal with, like coping with loss, child abuse, and neglect. Hallie's story remains central, despite the tragedy peppering the sidelines.
What I loved most about this book is the exploration of how deeply we can become entrenched in our social media lives, and how easily a stranger on the other end can manage to seep his or her way into our heads and hearts. The exploration of this type of relationship, and the looming danger these relationships ALWAYS have, is what made the book a standout for me....more
I was so excited for this book, as it combines two things I love - Disney and dystopian. Unfortunately, there were more things wrong with this book thI was so excited for this book, as it combines two things I love - Disney and dystopian. Unfortunately, there were more things wrong with this book than right. I will start with the good parts: I loved the Aladdin's backstory and that the story began before the events of the movie; I enjoyed Jasmine's fierceness; I enjoyed the descriptions of Aladdin and Jasmine falling for each other; I enjoyed most of the setting of the bleak world that Braswell created after Jafar took over; I enjoyed the moments between Jasmine and Genie.
I felt that the book spent too much time rehashing the movie. I think Braswell could have assumed some prior knowledge and didn't need to make this book feel like a novelization. As much as I love "Aladdin," I found these early parts a slog to get through.
But of course I am going to recommend the heck out of this and read whatever else comes out in this series....more
Much of this book is made up of a directionless, mostly danger-free, boring, plodding, apocalyptic road trip. The characters meander around Virginia wMuch of this book is made up of a directionless, mostly danger-free, boring, plodding, apocalyptic road trip. The characters meander around Virginia waiting for a plot to find them. The main character is a whiny, self-hating wimp who spends nearly all of her internal monologue whining about how much she hates herself and that everyone else should, too. And given the conditions she's been forced to live for the previous six years - a cruel internment camp where she suffered abuse every single day - her attitude is expected. But Ruby doesn't want your pity. So when she finds others who were in different camps and learns that the conditions at her own camp were much more horrible than any other place, she withdraws further and hides the truth about herself and her life - as if she were ashamed on behalf of her captors - all because she doesn't want pity. Girl, if you don't want pity - be upfront about the truth and don't accept pity. I wonder what the purpose of Ruby's attitude means - are we, the readers, supposed to think she is brave and strong? Because she comes across as a coward and a wimp.
The plot should have been interesting - as it dealt with telekinetic children and the government's extermination of them - but it flailed. Very little powers were ever used. There were threats to the protagonist, yet there was no real antagonist. I never really knew what the characters wanted - likely because they didn't either. Also, the world-building contradicted itself many times. I'm supposed to believe the world is in shambles (but why? how? because the children were taken away? And that results in ... what, exactly?) Yet we still have hotels and restaurants that are in operation and neighborhoods are intact. We are told there are abandoned cars everywhere (and again - why?), yet all roads were navigable (or, when one was closed, a simple detour was found - with road signs and everything!) Everyone under the age of 20 or so is either dead or in a camp, but these teenagers don't seem to fear being sighted and don't take much care to hide themselves. But it's okay, only the "bad guys" are looking for them - and they are always quickly defeated or avoided without much fuss.
The writing was clear enough, but suffered when the writer tried to either be funny or poetic. Neither works for this narrator, who is cold and dead inside from suffering six years of abuse. Anytime the writer injected a phrase to spruce up the writing, it felt jarringly out of place. Also, syntax errors were everywhere. I also have a suspicion that this writer is a Joss Whedon fan (either that, or I'm obsessed and am making more connections than I should) because there were little things that I felt were lifted directly from Whedon's creations (namely "Firefly" and "Buffy"). And this wasn't done in a hat-tip way, but in a "I hope no one notices I didn't come up with this myself!" way. Well, I see you and I know what you're (probably) doing.
Mechanics of writing aside, I never felt any sort of urgency to the story (and since this group has no fewer than three threatening entities after them, that's pretty bad) and I felt no connection to any of the characters - which is bad, I suppose, because I think I was supposed to care about the things that happened with each of the members of the group at the end, but I really, really, didn't. Those are the things that needed to happen to make for a compelling story. And it seems that the writer knew this, and made those things happen, but neglected to give any reason for me to care about it.
I hate giving books one star and poor reviews. But some books earn them, and in my opinion, this one did. I simply don't have time for crappy books like this. I will be passing on the rest of the series as well as taking my copy of this book to the library to place on the "free" shelf in hopes that it finds a more appreciative audience....more
A decent read. Nothing too special, though. Seth is a likable narrator and I was immediately hooked by the opening chapter when he is dumped by his giA decent read. Nothing too special, though. Seth is a likable narrator and I was immediately hooked by the opening chapter when he is dumped by his girlfriend, sees his dad with another woman, and is fired from his fourth job of the year all on the same day. But I did tune out a bit during the golf scenes. (Much of the setting is at a summer golf club.)
I picked this audio book up because I saw it has an iPod on the cover. Why, I listen to my audio books on my iPod! A perfect match! When I found out the narrator uses podcasting to make sense of his love life, I thought this would be a perfect novel for audio. I am a fan Nick Podehl's narration, and would listen to anything he narrates. He's believable as a teenage boy, and his voices for other characters are superb.