Free association with THE MUSEUM OF HEARTBREAK! What words and phrases come to mind when you think of this book, Wendy?
Haphazard. Trying too hard. QuiFree association with THE MUSEUM OF HEARTBREAK! What words and phrases come to mind when you think of this book, Wendy?
Haphazard. Trying too hard. Quirky without enough substance.
The thing about humorous prose is it has to feel effortless--and it has to have some order even if it doesn't appear to. This book felt all over the place; from the structure to the tenses to the things the characters were interested in, I felt like we were bouncing back and forth in a pinball machine. There's no real character development to speak of, either--everyone gets assigned some traits (this is the guy who draws and reads comic books, this is the mean girl who has no redeeming qualities, this is the best friend who shares a few memories with the MC, these are the eccentric parents, and this is the cute guy who...what does he do? Oh yeah, eventually you learn he likes Kerouac) and that's kind of the extent of the thought and depth behind it. Zero chemistry, zero stakes. I don't even know why we're supposed to like the narrator, to be honest; she's not awful, and I made myself be patient with the silly decisions she makes, but she's really not that interesting.
It pains me immensely to not love this book, because it talks about dinosaurs so damned much and I LOVE dinosaurs. And the author's bio says her heroes are Anne Shirley and Harriet the Spy. Come on! The bait and switch of that allure versus the story I actually read is so upsetting. This book tries so very hard to be charming, but it's too unfocused, too delighted by its own cleverness and tangential side stories, and too lacking in characters and relationships that feel complex or moving.
There are a few cute moments, and Ephraim is the best part about the book--he of wonderful dinosaur drawings and presents and humor, but even he's not much more than the great BFF and an object of affection. Come to think of it, that's probably the biggest issue here--that the characters in this book are treated like objects, like something you'd arrange in the diorama pictured on the book jacket, rather than people with deep feelings and thoughts and dreams. But even the grandest of dollhouses feels empty if you don't fill them with an interesting story.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review. This gets an extra star because of the dinosaurs alone....more
Thoughtful scifi thriller + sparky boy/boy romance! One of those boys is nerdy, nervous, and makes fantastic little robots. The other one is daring, gThoughtful scifi thriller + sparky boy/boy romance! One of those boys is nerdy, nervous, and makes fantastic little robots. The other one is daring, good-humored, and quotes Shakespeare. (view spoiler)[ Seriously, do not click this if you don't want to know (view spoiler)[ AND HE'S A ROBOT HIMSELF. :D (hide spoiler)] You've been warned! (hide spoiler)]
Probably a bit more at some point when it's not 3 am, but don't leave this off your list this year. It's terrific. THERE HAD BETTER BE A SEQUEL. ...more
3.5 stars The diary structure, especially with the snarky, cluttered narrative, wore me down before too long. And yet this story had to be told this w3.5 stars The diary structure, especially with the snarky, cluttered narrative, wore me down before too long. And yet this story had to be told this way, and it has moments where it's genuinely funny as well as a little creepy--and I think the mystery is resolved in a mostly satisfactory way. I enjoyed it, though the style is going to be a turnoff for many.
2.5 stars Entertaining, but this one tackles a few too many topics (view spoiler)[new girl trying to fit in, gang rape of a 14-year-old, physical abus2.5 stars Entertaining, but this one tackles a few too many topics (view spoiler)[new girl trying to fit in, gang rape of a 14-year-old, physical abuse, is the wealthy fiancé the right relationship, superficial mother, mass shooting at high school, career maneuverings, etc, etc (hide spoiler)] and doesn't really resolve any of them in a satisfactory manner. Liked the arch narrative voice (even with the over-emphasis on material goods...we get it, she's seeking security) but I think this needed more cohesion and streamlining, as well as better pacing and build-up of tension in the second half. The payoff is also far too predictable and underwhelming.
I'd check out a future book by this author, though....more