3.5 stars That blurb is convoluted, isn't it? But while I think the characterization could be a little more complex, I liked this.
-- a prot3.5 stars That blurb is convoluted, isn't it? But while I think the characterization could be a little more complex, I liked this.
-- a protagonist who isn't the standout "smart" or "strong" one in a BFF trio that includes two popular girls, but one who thinks through what's happening and is involved in plausible sleuthing -- that same protagonist definitely grows throughout the story as well -- lesbian/gay relationships handled in a matter-of-fact way -- diverse characters and relationships.
A little questionable:
-- some specifics of the mystery ask for a bit of a pass (the timelines for declaring someone missing or dead, does everyone other than Kalah take everything they're told at face value? That sort of thing) -- the interactions with police are pretty typical and uninteresting, and kind of didn't go anywhere -- a little more history and complexity in the characters and their motivations would have made this more interesting.
Still, this kept me interested throughout, while I guessed what was going in early on, the plot progressed in a way that that didn't even matter. I also really, really liked the ending. Ambiguity! Open-ended! Leaves you wondering! Doesn't tie up everything in a bow! Yay.
All in all, a short, fast-paced mystery that doesn't succumb to the obvious. I think teenagers in particular will love it.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review....more
2.5 stars If you look on this story as a romance with a disaster rather than a survival story with romance, you might enjoy this a little more than I2.5 stars If you look on this story as a romance with a disaster rather than a survival story with romance, you might enjoy this a little more than I did, since I didn't read the blurb too carefully and expected the latter. This is a New Adult novel that feels mostly YA except for the age and medical experience of its protagonist, as well as some later developments.
This was fine overall, but not altogether as stirring or frightening or memorable as I would have hoped. (And so much less survival stuff than I like!) I did enjoy the audiobook narrator, however--she manages to make the narrative engaging, even when what's happening is somewhat predictable, although all of her male characters (with Boston accents) sound the same, as do all the kids she voices.
There was also one line of characterization I really liked, in reference to (view spoiler)[missing insulin needles--of course! (hide spoiler)]; Tim's embarrassment at this small shame felt incredibly human and endearing. I would like to have seen more of that kind of quiet observation and feeling, as well as more character development overall. Still, I rather liked the ending--it ends just as you'd expect, but in a satisfactory way.
This probably would have been a decent three stars overall, had it not been for the fact that a pretty major thing that Avery is hiding for a long time finally comes out, and there doesn't seem to be that much impact after it's finally revealed. I'm fine with what happened, mind, just wished for more meat and discussion of consequences and emotion to come out of it. Everyone just kind of accepts this big secret, and the graveness of what happened is not adequately balanced by the amount of serious soul-searching, remorse, and forgiveness that it merited.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.
Solidly entertaining, and a real page-turner. It got a little messy towards the end, but it's still very good.
Recommended if you liked THE GIRL ON THSolidly entertaining, and a real page-turner. It got a little messy towards the end, but it's still very good.
Recommended if you liked THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN--and if you didn't, you still might like this if you thought TRAIN was too slow. (view spoiler)[The main character here is also definitely more of a clear cut, unpleasant stereotype than the other book's everyday protagonist/villain. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>...more
4.5 stars Everyone in this book is absolutely terrible, and as a result, this book is a masterpiece in character study and development. It's also a we4.5 stars Everyone in this book is absolutely terrible, and as a result, this book is a masterpiece in character study and development. It's also a well-written, precisely plotted psychological thriller, and deftly sketches one unreliable narrator after another. I guessed the culprit not too far into the book, but that didn't spoil my reading experience at all, particularly because the author drops so many diverting and convincing red herrings into the story.
I think it's also interesting that the central character, Rachel, challenges readers to think about how much we assume about--and pre-judge--other people based on our limited knowledge of them. To feel pity, disgust, frustration, compassion, and so much more for one character is a rare thing.
Remember how I was just saying I wanted a YA thriller that would actually, you know, thrill me? Here it is.
Those who liked certain elements of CharmRemember how I was just saying I wanted a YA thriller that would actually, you know, thrill me? Here it is.
Those who liked certain elements of Charm & Strange and Wild Awake might like this, and certainly you'll like it if you enjoy books like Dangerous Girls. Not a perfect book, but a really, really good one, so I'm bumping it up in star ratings in support. I had never heard of Nick Lake until now, but I'm definitely reading his other books! Review to come. ...more
This showed up on my doorstep unexpectedly, and I gave it a chance because I'd seen some surprisingly positive reactions among friends. I say "surprisThis showed up on my doorstep unexpectedly, and I gave it a chance because I'd seen some surprisingly positive reactions among friends. I say "surprising" because I absolutely loathed Hush, Hush--suffice to say that years after reading it, I still don't know if there's a YA couple that I dislike more.
It's true that Black Ice is entertaining and kept my interest, more than most YA thrillers, though I'm admittedly hard on the genre in this age category. It's not unlike adult romantic thrillers you'd find from authors like Lisa Gardner or books in Harlequin's Mira imprint, in which the relationship drama gets a near equal amount of play as the fairly straightforward mystery. That's all perfectly fine, except that the characters are pretty ridiculous here--the BFF is an idiot and the adults are non-existent. Britt herself isn't entirely unredeeming, except that she's torn between her cocky ex-boyfriend and her lusty Stockholm Syndrome feelings for one of the guys who kidnapped her. The author does keep you guessing (I mean, I guessed correctly, but she did a decent job of drawing things out) who the culprits are, but it doesn't even really matter, because pretty much every guy in this book acts like a jerk at one time or another. Not quite Patch-levels of controlling behavior or abusiveness, but enough to make you want to give them a good hard shove out the door. Even if they are supposedly, as my friend Crowinator says, supernaturally hot.
I kind of wish this author would write books for adults. While I'm annoyed by women acting dumb over guys in most scenarios, and I certainly don't think YA needs to always model exemplary behavior, I'm so uncomfortable with romantic portrayals like this--it just feels especially icky when the book's audience is younger. At least Britt stands up for herself? Eventually? I guess? But the power dynamic still seems so off, and the tenor of the relationships is so negative and mostly animal attraction-based, that I just can't get on board with the romance--and when that's 50% of what's going on, that's a lot of letdown. Not to mention that there's a lot of male-fixation and sexist thinking.
So: the thriller parts are relatively diverting, but the relationships and characters annoyed me. And despite all this snow and isolation, there's not all that much talk about the survival aspects, which is something I would have enjoyed. But this serves to confirm that this author's just not for me. While the resolution for this one is better than the Hush, Hush series, these aren't the types of relationships I enjoy reading about--or the types I would necessarily be wild about impressionable young girls daydreaming over, either.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review....more