Panic is the caffeinated version of the old childhood game, "I Double Dare You." The story is told from the perspective of 'reflecting' back on past e...morePanic is the caffeinated version of the old childhood game, "I Double Dare You." The story is told from the perspective of 'reflecting' back on past events. In this book, willing teen participants agree to challenges in hopes of winning a cash pot. In the small town of Carp, Panic is the yearly event that amuses the bored graduating class and their followers. Place your bets, and pick a favorite! Lauren Oliver does an adequate job with the plot, but doesn't hit the middle of the target to make this one a winner. There are too many places that tension, suspense and creative structure could have been achieved, but were scuffed over and the climax suffered as a result.
The story is fairly predictable, nothing really unexpected happens -- yep, you won't get that awesome, "PLOT TWIST!" surprise. Some of the details and insight into supporting character lives will leave you wondering by the end why it was included in the first place. Sure, developing characters are supposed to create relatability and conjure sympathy, but if it leads to the question "So What?', then the reader is left wondering why they invested in them at all. Unfortunately, certain parts of the story were over developed and other (more important events) were under developed.
Panic is a good read, but I wanted more depth. It just didn't deliver, and instead was a bit too shallow and predictable to be a 2014 YA favorite. (less)
Fans of Dexter (which I am one) will likely be irritated than overjoyed with this book. It's a total plot rip off with a few changes and not for the b...moreFans of Dexter (which I am one) will likely be irritated than overjoyed with this book. It's a total plot rip off with a few changes and not for the better. Too convenient and basic to be really intriguing or believable. The ending had me rolling my eyes and if I had to sum it up with one word, it'd be "Really?" I'd recommend to non-Dexter fans who are younger and want a Disneyland-rated serial teen killer tingle rather than a dark psychological thriller.
My biggest issue was with the blatant plot formula steal and tired stereotype traits of a psychopath. The book tries to stray from that by stating on the back cover that Lane comes from a loving home with no drama or trauma, but it's misleading, and not in a good way. Her mother and step father are FBI agents, after all, so that allows for careless and convenient access to information. Sure, she hates her sister, but isn't that 'normal' too? Oh, did I mention she has a friend who is a computer hacker? Yep, that sure helps. Too neat, too tidy and way too ridiculous.
Just not good on so many levels. I'd recommend passing on this one if you are a fan of psychological thrillers and serial killer mysteries. Too basic for a seasoned reading veteran. (less)
This was just 'meh' for me. It is a quick, plot driven read with high school characters that are geared toward the younger end of the YA scale. I woul...moreThis was just 'meh' for me. It is a quick, plot driven read with high school characters that are geared toward the younger end of the YA scale. I would categorize it as a 'teen' read. In order to avoid too much explanation or creativity, many things in the plot take an expected path for the sake of convenience and quick explanation. It's all too neat and the timing is too perfect to really give it the punch it needs to hold tension and intrigue. The character development is a little strange, especially the BFF, an amazon muse slapped with an aggressive stereotypical Italian personality. From meatballs to the over use of "confessional" catholic rantings, I got a bit bored and found myself doing the 'eye roll'.
This one just wasn't for me and although, I read it quickly, it left little lasting impression besides another plot-driven disappointment that takes the easy way out by grabbing at stereotypes and inserting some paranormal (and not knowledgable) elements to sell because those are "hot" "popular" items in the book market at the moment. (less)
I love this take on a fairy tale. Helen Oyeyemi knows how to craft a story into literature that can span time. Although this story is based on Snow Wh...moreI love this take on a fairy tale. Helen Oyeyemi knows how to craft a story into literature that can span time. Although this story is based on Snow White, it's done in such a way that sets it in another time and adds a completely different concept and dynamic. The bones of the story are recognizable, but it's written in such a manner that the old tale is subtle and fresh. Boy, Snow, Bird, is a thought provoking piece of lit. that is classroom worthy, and perfect for a book club or group discussion. It's thematically rich without being overdone. It's a gem of genius and can be viewed as a serious work, or simply a good read.(less)
After reading previous reviews, I thought I'd enjoy this read. However, I just couldn't get into it and sadly, this ended up in my DNF pile. The probl...moreAfter reading previous reviews, I thought I'd enjoy this read. However, I just couldn't get into it and sadly, this ended up in my DNF pile. The problem I had was with the character development and also, with the flat way the beginning of the story is communicated. The writing keeps the reader at an arms length as the background is given. It's a 'telling' not 'showing' approach. The premise is good, but the chosen perspective caused a detachment and hence, I never become emotionally invested in the characters. It may sound callous, but the writing didn't inspire sympathy. My lack of sympathy lead to boredom and I stopped wanting to pick this one up.(less)
Just like the lead female character, Wren Caswell, this book is too average for my liking. If Disney tried to water down (and I mean really dilute) Cr...moreJust like the lead female character, Wren Caswell, this book is too average for my liking. If Disney tried to water down (and I mean really dilute) Cruel Intentions, you might get The Promise of Amazing. It ranks smack in the middle of tepid "meh" for me. Perhaps, The Promise of Amazing is better suited for middle-schoolers. This teen angst love story doesn't have the drama, love, emotion or wit that I'm looking for from this genre. Nothing major happens to divide or bind the characters. Okay, so the synopsis presents potential, but the emotional punch is completely lacking. This could be categorized as 'sweet,' but at no point did I feel invested in the characters or concerned about their situation and outcome. When that happens, something is missing from the writing, the message is not being conveyed.
I'm afraid the passive strategy backfires in this one. Wren comes across as whiny and weak. Her insecurity never develops into anything more than luck. She does nothing to promote the outcome besides hanging around and continuing with her usual routine. Gray does the most changing and all because of love? He really doesn't experience much pressure to change, he just decides it's the right thing to do. A bit of blackmail occurs, but really it never becomes a major threat because when the truth is revealed, acceptance follows with very little tension. The Promise of Amazing is not delivered. (less)
Being a fan of The Raising, I had to read another book by Laura Kasischke. Mind of Winter takes place on Christmas Day. A perfect storm of emotions, w...moreBeing a fan of The Raising, I had to read another book by Laura Kasischke. Mind of Winter takes place on Christmas Day. A perfect storm of emotions, weather, regret, grief, guilt and failures accumulates with the mounting snow from the incoming storm. Isolated with her teen daughter, Holly Judge prepares for a traditional family Christmas. All the stress of preparing a meal and entertaining is heightened when everyone wakes up late on Christmas morning. There is little cheer or comedic relief in this story. The heaviness of fatalism is overwhelming and the sinking feeling of a terrible outcome multiples with each page. Although, this is the goal, it can be a depressing read. I personally have a hard time with books that continue with little relief, but the dark, sinking gloom is achieved. The ending comes a bit quick given the build up and does cut off when reality is revealed. I would have liked to see a bit beyond the reveal. I had questions regarding Holly's husband and parents. However, this can be debated and is a technique used to create discussion. For me, it felt a bit unfinished. When the cracks fractured, I would have liked to see just beyond. (less)
What a strange little ride you will go on in this book. It's interesting how Pinborough uses the well-known murderer, Jack the Ripper, as a sub-theme....moreWhat a strange little ride you will go on in this book. It's interesting how Pinborough uses the well-known murderer, Jack the Ripper, as a sub-theme. Similar to how he stalked the streets of London, in this tale, his actions shadow the main plot, running along side, beneath and slipping in and out of another infamous killer plaguing the seedy underworld of London.
Thematically, Pinborough makes use of several elements, including the polluted river, over-flowing sewers contaminating the city, pollution in general, tides, flow of water, migration, superstition and religion. The story becomes much more elegant and complex when taking such topics into consideration. The shadow play is fascinating and adds to the tension of various scenes. What makes the story unique is how Pinborough incorporates the historical with the fantastical paranormal genre. I imagine some readers of the first genre (historical) might not be open or ready to go on this journey. However, the mash-up is creative and imaginative.
Mayhem examines good and evil on two parallel levels. One by man, the other by something powerful that manipulates man. Upon deeper contemplation, isn't this always the general struggle we confront when something heinous occurs? How often do we question how mankind could do such a thing? Or is something greater imposing its will upon us? Possession and manipulation are always a possible justification even when reason tells us otherwise.
Mayhem would be outstanding for book clubs and should prompt some engaging discussions.(less)