Meanwhile I'd spent the whole week fighting the flutter in my stomach that started when he sat next to me in sociology class. I've just read the sneakMeanwhile I'd spent the whole week fighting the flutter in my stomach that started when he sat next to me in sociology class. I've just read the sneak chapters (21 pages only), which is a thing I rarely do, but I had a strangely uneasy feeling concerning the question whether the book and I would fit.
Well, we don't. Right in chapter one the reader is forced to meet that insanely attractive, new, mysterious guy who occupies the heroine's every thought - in spite of her plans to stay attachment-free because of her mother's - who is one of those mostly absent and selfish mothers the YA reader is supposed to hate with passion - habit of spontaneously calling the movers for a van because of her job in the military and in spite of some obvious weird tendencies of Mr. Tattooed-Forearm, like dropping pictures of prickly heroine Avery he shouldn't have in the theater room or speaking about her as being of first level priority to someone on his cell.
I guess the real posh Cinderella-of-a-powerful-family-setting is going to be bomb-dropped on the reader around prom-time, meaning the please-stay-in-because-I-tell-you-to-evening that should start on page 22, but I already know enough to do a brisk U-turn: Unlikable main and side-characters, a strong focus on bad-boy-romance with a second extra-mean, but well-dressed jerk peeking or leering around the corner, an unconvincing writing style and a strong vibe of business-as-usual-YA....more
Mostly it's like many reviewers are saying: If you are expecting a secret or a stunning mystery, you will not find one, because reading this with yourMostly it's like many reviewers are saying: If you are expecting a secret or a stunning mystery, you will not find one, because reading this with your eyes open and your inner Sherlock awake, you solve the essence of the riddle more or less at the end of part 1 (of 5). It would probably be different, if the "Liars" would have been marketed as a beachy coming-of-age-tale spanning several luxurious summers in High Society than as a mystery with a twist that makes you reel (paraphrased. I've forgotten the wording already.).
One last thought: (view spoiler)[I guess the alcohol was to blame. Without its consumption the 'rebellion' might have ended differently. Or not? (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
*** 1.5 stars, abandoned after reading 36% that felt like 1.000 pages *** One of the most boring attempts at paranormal mystery I have come across so *** 1.5 stars, abandoned after reading 36% that felt like 1.000 pages *** One of the most boring attempts at paranormal mystery I have come across so far - without taking unsexy jerks, unbelievable prerequisits and lackluster characters into account....more
*** Abandoned after reading 11% of the e-version ***
I honestly do not understand where these tons and tons of positive reviews and ratings come from.*** Abandoned after reading 11% of the e-version ***
I honestly do not understand where these tons and tons of positive reviews and ratings come from.
I started rolling my eye so fast after deciding to give the book a try, because the heroine, who outs herself to be "trouble" and bored to pieces and desperate to leave her sleepy, coastal town, is (surprise, surprise!) such a secretly talented photographer, such a good friend and such a delectable girl - the love interest spends one minute with her and decides to lengthen his stay considerably in order to shower regularly in her gruff comments, cold looks and bad practical jokes - and her so-called trouble is a home-made cover-sticker produced to lure in readers (view spoiler)[Well, probably there will be some tear-jerker-style unfairness revealed around 80% or so that partly justifies her friend's mother's hatred of her, I am sure (hide spoiler)]. I do not buy her personality, I do not buy her attraction, I do not buy the initial coincidence (postcard incident) and I do not buy the overblown side-characters.
I should probably stick to digging out low-average-rating gems (i.e. The Sharp Time or Bumped) out of the Goodreads mud instead of following the trail of unhinged gushers that beckons and glistens and promises.
Well. This attempt came free of costs.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
*** I've given up after reading 36% and fast-forwarding to the cliffhanger ending *** Goodness. After reading the initial volume I would NEVER have tho*** I've given up after reading 36% and fast-forwarding to the cliffhanger ending *** Goodness. After reading the initial volume I would NEVER have thought that I would pull the brakes on this series. Never. The mature heroine working in a LIBRARY, the hot, but unjerkish love interest, the refreshing incidents of swearing, the action, the friendship, the angel lore.
But, now I realize that none of the supportive cast except Jude and Daniel have left the slightest imprint on my mind since reading and sufficiently enjoying volume 2, and that the in-minute-details-related, uneventful plot in the Rephraims' Italian Sanctuary that took longer time to read than it took the characters to live (36% covered about 3.5 hours of Gaby's life) swaggered between making me antsy, because I hoped to get a grip on who of all those clonish-and-sexless-seeming half-angels, monks and bikers was who and was pro- or anti-Gaby and did what, and making me feel a painful sort of boredom, because there is one point-of-clueless-and-pissed-off-view, one location including a garden, a mess hall, a shower and a gym, a probably-alive love interest far, far away, almost no monster in sight and a kind of waiting-room-feel to it all (where's my lukewarm coffee and the magazine kiosk?).
Plus, I REALLY thought this would be end of the series and would provide stuff to fill the blanks in Gaby's head (three volumes is enough in most cases, as I am concerned. Move on, authors, move on, already!), and suddenly I had to discover that the drudgery third I had been ploughing through was just the beginning of a filler volume somewhere in the middle of the saga. Thanks a lot.
Good for me that I only invested in the cheap Kindle version. Nobody seems to know the series here in Germany. That means swapping or reselling a paper copy would surely be a pain in the brain....more
"'Something really important came up,' he said. 'Something so important you didn't have the decency to give me a freaking ride home? What came up?' 'I"'Something really important came up,' he said. 'Something so important you didn't have the decency to give me a freaking ride home? What came up?' 'I can't talk about it.'"
So. Let's talk about 'Shifting', a paranormal Young Adult Romance debut about an orphaned girl, who has been handed from one abusive foster home to the next, and who has had some collisions with the police lately because of nightly nudity and kitty fights for pieces of clothing with local prostitutes in her home town Albuquerque, New Mexico. As the title already suggests, Magdalene Mae Mortensen is a Shifter, someone who has to shift at full moons and can shift into whatever she wants whenever she wants (kind of like Sookie's bartender boss Sam). A few months before the State's responsibility ends Maggie's social worker, Mr. Petersen, made the strange last-straw-decision to hand his toughest ward cookie over to his own mother in small-townish Silver City. The change of abode comes with a change of hair color(view spoiler)[ also Mr. Petersen's idea - to make her blend in. Shouldn't he rather try to make her feel comfortable in her own skin? (hide spoiler)], a change of social workers and a change of schools. Now Maggie Mae is in the hands of incapable, insensitive blabbermouth Ollie Williams, surrounded by mega-bullies and supposedly hot jerks, cared for by an old, naive and superstitious lady, who is not accustomed to keeping a girl safe and fed, and hunted by someone ruthless, dangerous and unknown. Sounds great?
No. I don't think so either. So do not ask me what made me put the title on my wishlist in the first place. Certainly part of the blame goes to the cover, which is a bit fitting, actually, although Maggie's black-dyed hair is always wet or filthy and the attempt to shift into a snake went freakishly wrong. Then there was the promise of a New Mexican setting and Native American mythology. What puzzles me in hindsight is, that I somehow managed to graciously overlook the accumulation of brightly glowing jerk-inside bumper-stickers on positive and negative reviews alike. Inexplicably the praise of one single reviewer, who was even more or less unknown to me, stuck and overrode all warning signals: She gushed about the fantastically normal guy filling the love interest spot. I should have taken the time to run a check on her favorites shelf before mustering the galls to even suggest to my friend Teccc a read-along! But guess what: He chuckled evasively and didn't say yes or no, but expressed himself to be partly curious. Luckily I did not pester him again and saved myself from having to perform some apologetic groveling. For "normal" is the very last word I would select to describe rich, snobby, aloof, smarmy, horny, self-centered, impolite, irresponsible, rude, one-eighth-Navajo-blooded Daddy's boy Bridger, beloved little shit, track star and French-fiancé-owning, mysterious Crown Prince of Silver City. Even a good month later leafing through the offensive quotes I've marked makes my blood boil with disgust, and I hate the heroine for relenting and forgiving and being turned on again and again: "Who was verbally beating me to pulp this time? I was straining my ears but couldn't separate one voice out of them all. Bridger frowned and stopped dancing. He took a step away from me and said, 'I'll be back in a couple of minutes. Want some punch or cookie or anything?'" Naturally Bridger does not return all evening. He lets Maggie stand among a group of harpies who identified her - beautiful - dress as being from the Wal-Mart clearance rack and wondered loudly if he wasn't embarrassed being seen with someone "so shoddy", but he does not see a reason to apologize the next day (see quote on at beginning). Prom Night is not the only occasion Maggie Mae has to run in animal form home to Mrs. Carpenter's house in the middle of nowhere because of Bridger's sudden change of mind. Once he chivalrously picks her up and says she shouldn't consider walking alone at night after her shift in the Mexican restaurant, but spontaneously shoves her out of his car because of a mysterious phone call. The incident on graduation day tops everything - although part of the disaster is Mrs. Carpenter's fault, who should have known better about Silver City hierarchy, since she had lived all her life among her rich and poor neighbors. She gleefully flaunts the information that her foster daughter plans to celebrate the end of school with their quasi-royal son into his posh parents' sour faces and then leaves the school grounds - and Maggie Mae, who is car-less and also phone-less - without a second thought. Cue for Bridger to make the following little speech: "I'm so sorry - I know we were going to hang out tonight, but my mom's made other plans. I've got to cancel. So ... I guess I'll see you around. I'll call you sometime. Or drop by and help you with the garden." and making a quick no-looking-back-exit that ignores her feeble "But ... I don't have a ride" protest. Shortly before Maggie is almost mobbed to death he quietly tells her to be careful, because "something might be up", but doesn't do anything to prevent her getting hurt. When he takes her "as a friend" out to a five-star-restaurant, where she stands out like pus on a model's face in her tattered second-hand clothes and bewilderedly discusses the unavailability of tap water with the condescending waitress, who fawns over Bridger (Hello, Twighlight's restaurant scene), but suggests to his date to "go eat somewhere that is better suited to trailer trash", Bridger nervously watches Maggie form a frown, yanks her out of the booth before she can decide to retort (new destination: KFC) and testily asks "Are your previous brushes with the law for fighting?" without even contemplating to put the waitress in her place for being rude to a paying customer. In addition, he invites poor Maggie to stay over, although he must have known how his parents would react after detecting an undesirable girl without money or connections under their roof, and succeeds, although Maggie's only friend Yana had warned her in time about his rich fiancé and his girl-eating habits: "Well, there's a problem. France is on another continent. So when Bridger's hormones rage, he finds someone local to use as a temporary replacement. And then he tosses her aside." By the way, I am positive Bridger is something paranormal, too. Something that needs invitations into houses, something at war with the dangerous species Maggie Mae seems to belong to at the first superficial glance: Skinwalkers. I did not venture in far enough to find out, but I am almost betting my battered Kindle on it.
The second obstacle, which quickly rubbed me sore, has been the unprofessional behavior of Maggie Mae's replacement social worker Ollie, who is officially in charge of Silver City's foster children. He talks to Mr. Petersen, Mrs. Carpenter and Bridger about Maggie Mae as if she wasn't present or as if she was deaf or stupid or had no feelings at all and accepts rumors circling "in the office" about her as the unquestionable truth. "'I've come to visit with Ms. Mortensen, too,' Ollie explained, holding my file up. '[She]'s been in the fostering program since she was five,' Ollie said. I wanted to punch Ollie. Wasn't my life, contained in the file under his arm, supposed to be private? 'Oh,' Bridger said again, studying me as if we had just met." Later on Ollie shows only minimal remorse when his niece Danni, Maggie Mae's number one bully, reads aloud from said confidential file and systematically riles up the mob to shame and punish "the prostitute" in the locker room. The teachers and the principal act and react almost as bizarrely and wipe the last bit of reality out of a story that did not have much life-like to offer in the first place.
Well. I conclude with saying that I am rather surprised that I made it until 56%. In my opinion the book did not deserve the time I spent reading it. So should you have a jerk allergy as severe as mine, do yourself a favor and avoid repeating my mistake. It's not good for your health.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**** If it is possible to spoil a story that has practically no mentionable plot and no mystery, but makes do with a certain set of formulaic elements**** If it is possible to spoil a story that has practically no mentionable plot and no mystery, but makes do with a certain set of formulaic elements (see farther below), spinning them in circles to make the experience last longer, then be warned: Spoilers line the rocky road ****
I am seldom that outspoken, but in this case I just have to say it aloud - probably all the 'fucks' and 'shits' the characters flung about celebrating their verbal New Adult freedom rubbed off on me: In my opinion "Wait for You" is utter shit and I don't understand in the least why people enjoy spending time on it. My expectations had been rather low after reading "Obsidian", but probably they were not low enough.
So, let's see: Former, rich, unkissed social pariah Avery enrolls in a small no-name college to start a new, normal life far from home and literally bumps into Cameron-I-Had-Them-All-And-They-Liked-It, but because of her past and her personality it takes him a few months to tease a date out of the one girl who resists and her four months of heavy-duty petting (view spoiler)[He never even asks why. Maybe he thinks it's "the traditional virgin way"? (hide spoiler)] and a few mental break-downs to admit she has a problem - a problem of unbelievable proportions, which the reader has pretty much puzzled together since chapter 1 or 2 or 3. That's it! Have a go at guessing! You cannot fail. The quotes are all to be found in the first 11% of the book, most of them on the very first pages:
Reaching down, I checked the wide, silver bracelet on my wrist, making sure it was in place.
A guy had never held me. I didn't count that one time, because that time didn't count for shit.
Parties didn't end well for me.
I hadn't been able to see a possible after when the entire school got behind Blaine.
Nothing could have been worse than what had happened to me, what my parents agreed to.
Apparently my parents were okay with having a daughter labeled a lying whore.
The paragraphs that are not dripping with hints to her - or his - tragic past or with sexual activity consist of artificial, middle-school-level-immature conversations the heroine has with her new cardboard friends - i.e.:
'Cam?' Brittany blinked. 'Yeah?' [...] Brittany's brows knitted. 'People who he doesn't know call him Cameron. Only his friends call him Cam.' 'Oh.' I frowned. 'He told me people call him Cam, so I assumed that's what people called him.'
and oily, self-gratifying banter orchestraed by Mr. Let-Me-Bake-For-You-Sweetheart out to seduce an iron virgin:
'So unless you were raised in a convent, I imagined you've been in a lap a time or two, right?'
'I'm a lot to handle, but I can assure you, you'll have fun handling me.'
To be frank, after schlepping myself through this highly praised, much-squealed-about example that has even been practically fought over by international licence buyers, I do not have much hope left for the genre and its ability to bring forth something I can enjoy and I don’t really believe anymore that
- there is a New Adult novel without a heroine who suffered some kind of abuse before meeting creation's finest in form of the hero. I cannot believe how rape or almost-rape or abusive parental behavior has been quickly established as one of the truly unavoidable requirements for a successfully hot tear-jerker romance. - there is a New Adult novel without a heroine who is sexually inexperienced or unable to let go sexually (view spoiler)[In "Wait for You" the author has combined the rape and the virgin factor by a desperate coup de force that is so ridiculous you cannot help but applaud in awe: Avery’s abuser had raped her by going the anal route. And than means hymen-wise our heroine is still pure and extra-virgin despite her defining earlier experience (hide spoiler)], but is oh so attractive to the hero and secretly special and siren-like seductive under the layers of her tragic past. - there is a New Adult novel without a hero who is prone to violent outbursts directed towards people who deserve it, but tender and protective as far as the fragile heroine is concerned. - there is a New Adult novel without a hero who had been consuming girls like breakfast - and is universally admired for that because his sex skills are too advanced to be wasted on one woman only - but who changes his habit from 100 to zero, because wanting the heroine so bad made him lose his appetite for even the most appealing piece of ass on legs. - there is a New Adult hero who is not filthily rich or at least in possession of a convenient amount of money in form of a trust fund, royalties, or a well-paying business he started at an astonishing young age. - there is a New Adult novel in which the characters are really on their way to become thinking, independent grown-ups instead of being closet High Schoolers playing College with a drawer full of condoms and a key to their own apartment or trailer.
In the light of "Wait for You" and its equally awful chronies I think have to be fair and eventually take all the titles I enthusiastically added to my New Adult shelf last year (i.e. "Holier than Thou", "The Piper's Son", „Where She Went“, "Raw Blue", "Come and See Me" ...), when the genre began to coin itself, off again. For in my opinion it counts as an affront to those titles to be grouped together with books that fulfill the above mentioned basic prerequisites - which really I cannot stand to come across anymore.
Recently I accidentally noticed (view spoiler)[Let me assure you: I did not actively seek it out (hide spoiler)] the description for Armentrout’s upcoming novel "Frigid": "... Kyler puts the 'man' in man-whore ... has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach ... there's nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other ..." and I thought: Shove it back into the eighteenth century, squeeze her into a tight, but demure corset, hand him an inheritance and a full stamp card of a small-town discount bordello and you've got a regular bodice ripper (I know: There is nothing wrong with those. But everybody knows at least what to expect from historical romance). What is "new"(=different) in New Adult fiction is only the contemporary setting and that strange fixation on sexual abuse.
I am astonished by my own thoughts, but I guess I would rather stick to good old British ChickLit when searching for a realistic story about a young woman finding her place in life and a guy to suck up to than to suffer more of this vile, repetitive and uneventful stuff. Unfortunately I have already "Slammed" and "Easy" on my Kindle and thus I believe I will venture into the jungle of damaged girls and hot, temperamental boy-men at least twice again (view spoiler)[At the moment I cannot imagine making it through to the end, though. (hide spoiler)]. Sad, sad business, I know. So don't kill me for my opinion. I suffered enough reading the book. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
[...] 'it's the truth.' I glared at him. 'You wanted to kiss me just as much as I wanted to kiss you.' His eyes dropped back to my mouth and I felt th[...] 'it's the truth.' I glared at him. 'You wanted to kiss me just as much as I wanted to kiss you.' His eyes dropped back to my mouth and I felt the fire in my stomach rekindle. 'That's not the point.' My words were breathless and I frowned, realizing that I had agreed to what he said. Half a conversation later he hopped onto the bottom rung of the ladder so he was pressed against my back. [...] His long, hard body pressed against mine was giving me ideas I didn't need.
**** If you read this review, you will encounter spoilers ****
Apart from a few things that could have been improved by thorough proof-reading or an impartial editor (view spoiler)[- see, for example the repetition in the quote at the beginning (hide spoiler)] - the two stars above mainly reflect a picture-book case of It isn't the book. It's me. I say this with conviction because I can actually think of a proper handful of friends I would recommend the self-published new adult (view spoiler)[ - I would rather say young adult, but it will be discussed later on - (hide spoiler)] mermaid romance to without hesitation. (Tina, Jess, Jessica, Crystal, Alexa, Arlene, Amber and Nic: I am looking at you.)
'Flukes' is a modern teenage mermaid fairytale that is mainly focused on sexual encounters. After outlining shortly what I did like about it, I will try to elaborate on the things that unfortunately clashed with my peculiar expectations of a paranormal romance, a new adult/young adult love story or a story which is worth to spend time reading in general. Hopefully you can decide afterwards if your taste leans towards being hard to please by the current outcrop of easy-to-consume-romantic-fiction in the same degree as mine or if you should reconsider your probably earlier idea to give 'Flukes' a miss.
Although 'Flukes' takes place at an aqua zoo in the Caribbean with a private beach attached to it, the beginning had a strongly fairytale-like flavor, which appealed to me: Ben and Marion, who run an aquatic refuge center, which is later to become 'Flukes', sort through the debris flung about by a huge coastal storm and discover a mermaid baby protected by a couple of hurt dolphins. Because they had - like the king and queen of ancient myths - tragically not given birth to a child of their own, they fall in love with the helpless creature and keep her. Marion and Ben are nice parents, which is pretty unusual in YA (view spoiler)[ - probably to balance this out the hero has an extra-cold piece of shit as a dad (hide spoiler)] and quite refreshing. Apart from the strange trust they have in Blake, one of the boys who are convicted to do community-service hours at their facility (view spoiler)[There was something honorable about Blake, even if he was a bad boy. [...] 'Why did you beat up that guy?' 'You don't need to know.' His eyes grew hard the way the last time I asked.(hide spoiler)], they are a pretty normal set indeed.
In contrast to all those YA mermaid novels in which the teenaged heroine, who has been forcefully kept ignorant / out of the water / away from the ocean all her life, is suddenly surprised by her own behavior or her scaly lower body, Meena knows what she is and is more or less comfortable with her tail. Certainly there is the fear to be caught as well as a general unease, because no other species members are around to talk her through the specifics of mermaid biology and culture. She has been raised like a human, but she thinks she cannot leave her home or indulge in a normal relationship, because she gets physically ill, if she doesn't immerse herself in oceanic water about once a day. (view spoiler)[The solution is so ridiculously easy, though, that one cannot fail to wonder why Meena and her parents did not at least consider trying it out before two mermaids passing the town during their traditional 'swim-about' (Established to facilitate finding the mate for life a mermaid is meant to bond to - should you wonder) suggest it. (hide spoiler)]
All in all I liked Meena, who is able to telepathically converse with sea mammals. She has strange taste in men, obviously, but she is not completely speechless or demure and she manages to have the upper hand now and then. Her being different as an excuse for her chaste youth sounded pretty set up to me, though. Her relationship to her best friend Violet- who is about to depart to the college she wants to attend on Hawaii - was rather sweet. The scenes involving the dolphins Mitch and Jallia held a certain cuteness, too.
Well, these were all the aspects responsible for the additional star in my enjoyment-based rating. Let us by and by focus on what the book had to offer on top of that but what I failed to appreciate in a proper way:
It is not the book's fault that I do not like reformed bad boys and slimy jerks who taunt inexperienced, shy girls and cross lines in the holy name of sexiness. Boys who won't take a No for a No, because they 'read' the female body language, which infallibly broadcasts to them that she secretly wants the advances / the fumbling / the excitement / the unknown in spite of her feeble or furious protests. Other readers love them.
It's not the book's fault that a minor who reached his praised state of sexual finesse and cocky self-confidence by being literally whored out by his financially successful dad to his clients' daughters or female associates creeps me rather out instead of turning me on. Other readers feel the hotness.
It's not the book's fault that a french mother and some randomly whispered sweet nothings about dreams and lips and beauty in French (view spoiler)[What is the reason for speaking in a foreign language to someone who does not understand it, huh?! (hide spoiler)] do not activate my wobbly-knees-mode as required. Other readers melt.
It's not the book's fault that I just cannot take another young hero who accidentally swims in his own money, can promise his present arm candy to show her the world and more, shove diamonds on her fingers and buy for her crumbling family business a better corporate design / building / website without noticing the dent in his purse and is able to interrupt his plans for his education in order to accommodate his newly found bliss with his geographically-challenged love. Other readers know 'Solvent is sexy'.
It's not the book's fault that I abhor books that include magically evoked shackles that lead to eternal 'love' a.k.a. the need to stay next to each other forever, unbreakable co-dependence and an excuse for teenage couples to play house, talk of marriage and kids. I criticized a comparable concept in the also self-published mermaid novel 'Everblue' and I felt sick seeing it used in 'Flukes' - although I should mention that the heroine does fret and apologize for unknowingly having reduced the hero to permanently craving her and her only. Other readers wish those tattoos swirled around their own wrists.
It's not the book's fault that I still expect the heroines and heroes of a New Adult Romance to have started a phase that is different from their former lives at their parents' houses. That I want them to be at least at college - preferably not just entering it - or even better trying to survive their first real job, their first real flatmate or their first real attempt at shacking in with a boyfriend. Meena has just finished High School and plans to stay at home to work at her parents' zoo. Her experience and her frame of mind could also be those of a cute and naive freshman. I do not understand why 'Flukes' is not being marketed as what is is: A paranormal YA romance 'enhanced' with cotton-candy-flavored sex (view spoiler)[that has the heroine reaching her 'finish-line' right along her lover's during her very first time and that requires a condom only before the couple knows that they are mated for life (hide spoiler)]. If the cover had said 'Proud to Present Teenagers as Sexual Beings" I would have applauded and ordered a bumper sticker, honestly. Other readers want their Young Adult literature 'clean'.
It is not the book's fault that the piece of evil evil that eventually befalls the heroine in and out of the water did not convince me as fitting the storyline smoothly. Picky me just cannot accept a fine chunk of dangerous action as it it, but has to poke and prod and complain and roll her eyes before nibbling at the crust. Other readers need to see there are bad boys and really, really bad boys in this world.
I close this perusal with a quote that made me gag but others swoon: And that kiss ... it had made me think about skipping the beach and taking her straight back to my bed. But she wasn't the kind of girl you screw real quick. Meena was meant to be savored [...] Have you decided on which side of the fence you sit? Gag or swoon? Everything is possible. Take your time and consider. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Grace sidled up beside me and whispered, 'This was huge, Echo. If Luke's into you again, life will change. Who he talks to and dates changes everyone'Grace sidled up beside me and whispered, 'This was huge, Echo. If Luke's into you again, life will change. Who he talks to and dates changes everyone's opinion. Maybe things will finally get back to normal.' ... 'Luke may love me, but he's not exactly thoughtful.' [...] 'True. He's self-absorbed and has a one-track mind [...]. But you have feelings for him.'
As a small girl I used to love the few stanzas I snapped up of a tragic, traditional ballad about a prince and a princess in love who were first divided by an uncrossable river and then by the death of the boy who braved the waters to be united with his beloved. Stories of bitter-sweet love blossoming against the odds have always held a certain appeal to me. And when I read and enjoyed i.e. Perfect Chemistry, I found that I didn't even mind the occasional extra layer of exaggeration and fluffy drama that accompanies them. But there is a line. I need some flimsy anchor to reality at least, more or less realistic characters with realistic, consistent traits, feelings and reactions, mostly. I have to out myself as someone who has never trodden on American High School grounds. That means I usually stretch my imagination pretty far from what I have experienced during my own teenage years on the old continent and make allowances for all the things completely foreign to me - proms, home rooms, purity issues, the fixation on sports and athletic superiority, the hierarchies, the groups, the unwritten lunch room rules, the rich and mighty who more or less glow in the dark. Yet, here I cannot refrain from pointing out the eerily plastic figurines that make up the horrible cast of the soapless soap called "Pushing the Limits" and their unbelievably strange demeanor. This story is pushing my limits indeed.
It begins already with the premises. For the sake of her own psychological healing heroine Echo is denied the "truth" about what happened to her the night that left her with horribly scarred underarms by both her father and her school therapist. She lost her memory but knows that somehow her mentally ill mother must have been involved, for she has been forbidden to contact her since. Not knowing anything means for Echo that she has no ground on which to deflect the accusatory or morbidly interested stares and whispers of her classmates, who also had not been briefed by anyone before Echo's return to school and consequently assume "failed suicide attempt". In order to completely sever her connection to her artist mother - who is her mother after all - Echo's father, who pushes his daughter to better and better results at school because he wants her to study economics, has forbidden her to attend her beloved art class. Apart from hard-core meddling with her life-defining choices, Daddy isn't really interested. He is busy fondling the pregnant belly of his second wife, Echo's former full-time babysitter, and responding to his Blackberry's beeps. The therapist, who is otherwise described as being of the caring, experienced, no-nonsense sort, doesn't get it at all that her squirming patient is not free to answer freely in the presence of her parents. What kind of therapist is that? What kind of therapy waits for a patient's memory to come back on its own, but removes all anchors to it? At that point I was already silently screaming along with Echo, who narrates her part with an overly snarky, sassy, judgemental voice that doesn't fit her passive, submissive actions in the least.
Noah's case is similarly strange. His parents died in a burning house, which made him and his brothers orphans. In contrast to him, who plays the survival game against abusive, violent adults fostering kids for monetary reasons, the younger boys were lucky enough to be placed into the hands of a loving couple. A couple, who selfishly presses for an adoption and for the termination of Noah's visiting rights - because of his obvious bad influence. Nobody believes Mother-Theresa-Robin-Hood-crossbreed Noah, that he had attacked his brutal foster father only to save another kid. In order to tarnish the intelligent, athletic saint with a proper, shady sheen, the author selected a pot habit and a reputation of sleeping around as persona add-ons. Having occasional sex with willing females in this book automatically equals not being able to love (view spoiler)['You don't love people. You have sex with them. So how could you want to be with me?'(hide spoiler)]. Which in turn is labeled as "not normal". Since "normal" is the goal glove-wearing Echo has to achieve to call her friends friends again, Noah is a big no-no-no (view spoiler)['Yes ... no ... I don't know. I want normal, Noah. Can you give me normal?'(hide spoiler)].
This leads us to the weirdest portrayal in this limitless young adult wonder: Echo's friends and the life-or-death-question of belonging to the High School caste that counts. Grace, who has tentatively resumed connections to part-time leper Echo, urges her to give-in to Luke's (re)advances (see quote on top). We are speaking here of ultra-jerk Luke, Echo's cast-off, popular-for-no-valid-reason boyfriend, who had pressured her for sex, who 'had' to satisfy his boyish needs elsewhere because of her ongoing reluctance, who is pressuring her now again - which seems to be perfectly acceptable because of his professed "love" for her - and who takes her to watch a contemporary war movie, although it is no secret that her brother died in action. All of Echo's so-called friends are mean, devoid of compassion, hierarchy-obsessed and offer their friendship bound to conditions. That Echo takes their childish stance and their suggestions seriously destroys the picture of above-average intelligence and witty insight the author tries to sell so hard of her. Echo is dense beyond belief. And the "real" good guy is too easy to spot.
Apart from the bad image the book conveys of clueless social workers and psychologists, there is definitely something off in the medication department: Echo is not only supposed to heal herself without working things out with her institutionalized mother, she is also forced to beg her dad for her prescription pills which are unnecessary in his opinion and therefore safely hidden away. A well-placed complaint to her therapist would have been probably sufficient to change the situation. But I wondered why the pills weren't in Echo's own hands in the first place. She is no toddler. She is no prisoner. In addition there is that bizarre scene in which Lila and Echo persuade her self-centered, vapid stepmother to put her on birth control (Lila's idea, by the way). Why doesn't Echo just visit a family planning center or a gynaecologist? In my country - same as in many others - the pill is free of charge for minors. And no doctor or social worker is allowed to disclose to a girl's parents her decision to take it. I refuse to accept that there are no ways in the US to elude parental consent.
Well. There are 60% of plot left that I, as a thinking owner of my life time, declare as being better off in the abandoned e-books folder of my reading device. I do not think that there will be summaries of books to come by this book's author which will lure me into having a try.
I close my case with a conversation Echo has with the ever-loving Luke, the Cute: 'Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine you'd want me back after I became the freak.' [ ...] 'I want you in again and I think the best way for you to fall is to jump. I think we should pick up where we left off. I think we should have sex.' [...] 'What?' 'Not now, but soon. I bet if we do, you'll be in again.' [...] Odd, I'd gotten my wish - I could have sex with someone who loved me - but I'd forgotten to add that I wanted to love him back. 'I don't know.' He simply smiled. 'Sleep on it.' ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
'Get in.' He demanded. [...] I got in the car, against my better judgement, because I didn’t want to cause a scene. [...] 'You understand that I just'Get in.' He demanded. [...] I got in the car, against my better judgement, because I didn’t want to cause a scene. [...] 'You understand that I just met you, right?' 'Yes. You understand that the woman you were about to have lunch with is my aunt and she just disappeared in a matter of minutes, right? You understand that perhaps there is more going on than you could possibly comprehend, right? You understand that I am trying to get you home safe, right?' His blue eyes pierced me and my body felt numb. I did understand. I handed him my keys. 'My house is at 504 Briarwood Court.'
You like that? Good for you. To me this passage embodies everything I dislike about a certain type of paranormal young adult romance. And although I have read only 7% of the self-published mermaid novel, I can tell that I would label the whole package as unbearably awful. Therefore there is no sense in reading the remaining 93%.
If the 'teaser' above made you kind of excited, you might be pleased to hear that the story deals with a freshly graduated orphan called Seraphin, who has had water phobia since she went into the ocean against her father's explicit prohibition, which is somehow connected to her father's mysterious death. Rich Seraphin has lived for years Cinderella-style with a family friend, who resented her presence in the house. She made do with only one true friend, her biology teacher Ms. Z., who starts blathering about legends and merpeople and guardians and successions and prophecies out of the blue and right on graduation day. After Seraphin has laughingly established that she doesn't believe in mermaids, she witnesses said teacher-friend, who announces that she will have to leave town directly after lunch, to make the biology department's goldfishes do as she says using plain English to communicate at them. Just as Seraphin contemplates becoming a believer (Praised be Nemo!), Ms. Z's grumpy, shy and gorgeous nephew Joseph barges in, flickers his mesmerising eyes from ice to navy blue and back, stops himself from releasing a very secret secret and takes the first-I-have-to-pretend-to-hate-you role with aplomb. Phew! Just in time, because fifteen minutes later he needs to be the ill-tempered-and-tight-lipped-knight-in-shining-armor. Our friendless heroine of the later-to-be-revealed superior qualities is about to faint and cannot drive or think or walk and talk.
This marks the opening of the fantastic curtain: I am sure there will be a lot of mistrust and bickering and withholding of information. There will be fulfilments of prophecies that demand sacrifices of vast proportions to be made. And there will be goldfish lingo to be learned. In the end there will be peace and harmony in Earth’s oceans again. How inspiring! But alas, I cannot stay. You tell me, if I am right. But make it quick, okay?
Disclosure: I received a Smashwords Coupon from the author to download the e-book for free. ...more
- that the young adult scifi novel was not one of those damned stand-alones with a real ending - that Mavkel was more human looking, had a hot, hot body and an 'Englisher' name like Paul or Oscar - that Oscar-Mavkel's and Joss' heart-string-tucking friendship was replaced by a forbidden instant-and-forever-love that would swallow up at least half of the plot and the majority of the heroine's thoughts....more