**spoiler alert** Anyone else notice these books sitting on the front shelves at Borders? The cover is so pretty—how can you not notice it? So when I...more**spoiler alert** Anyone else notice these books sitting on the front shelves at Borders? The cover is so pretty—how can you not notice it? So when I noticed this book for the first time one of the Borders employees ambushed me and explained to me in gushing detail that this was one of the most phenomenal books she’s ever read. She said she had to sit up all night reading it until the very end because it was essential that she find out what happened. So I bought it. How can you say no to a book that is that good?
Well, after having read it, I have a question for everyone who works at Borders: is promoting certain books part of your job? Regardless of whether you like the book? Or if you’ve even read it?
Anyway, Borders aside. This book was nowhere near phenomenal. I wouldn’t even call it particularly enjoyable.
The book centers around seven-year-old Calli who does not speak. She is taken into the woods by her alcoholic father one morning—on that same morning her friend Petra also disappears. Interesting premise. Unfortunately, the writing itself left something to be desired.
I’ll start off by saying that if you’re going to tackle a heavy subject, you need characters that can carry their weight. This was the books biggest failing. The chapters rotate to a new perspective every couple of pages. And you have a wide variety of characters telling this story—fathers, mothers, young girls, a young boy, and so on. But I couldn’t differentiate between any voices. Not a single one was distinct.
The prose itself is pretty solid.
The one major problem I had was the fact that the story was not thrilling. The story cracked under the lack of suspense and the fact that there are places in which it’s hard to keep that suspension of disbelief. Calli is the main focus of the story and what the reader is supposed to care about. But we know the person who kidnapped her, why she was kidnapped, and where she was taken. And there was also the fact that we don’t get any sense of danger from her situation, since Griff doesn’t seem to intend to do her major harm.
It seemed to me that the author realized this and threw Petra in there as a side-mystery. I only say this since she is not mentioned with the same reverence that Calli is and that her kidnapping doesn’t come to any major wrap-up or climax. Sure, we find out whodunit but the motive seems wonky at best.
And one more thing I wouldn’t normally complain about but I feel is worth mentioning—the messages in this story seem to blatantly say that a woman’s number one goal in life is to marry and have kids. It might just be me being over-sensitive but the fact that every single woman in this book has no trait or ambition other than “wife and mother” disturbed me. Antonia seems so desperate to fit this mold that she marries an abusive jackass.
So overall, two of five. I would tread cautiously around Borders employees looking to sell you this book unless you’re quite sure that it is the kind of book you’d love read.(less)
This was a quick, fun, YA mystery. Its strengths were the family dynamics and the whole concept of sliding, which is the protagonist’s ability to inha...moreThis was a quick, fun, YA mystery. Its strengths were the family dynamics and the whole concept of sliding, which is the protagonist’s ability to inhabit the minds of people while she is unconscious. It did annoy me that in the latter half of the book the author undermines her own rules for the convenience of the plot but whatever, whatever. At first I was worried that the author was going to do with the evil-bitchy-cheerleader stereotype but I appreciated that the author diverted from that path and took the time to humanize those characters.
The dialogue was the biggest flaw. A rival girl says to the protagonist, “Nice outfit. What is like it, like, 1994?” It makes you wince. It doesn’t flow very well and it rarely feels genuine. I don’t know how old the author is but I feel like she spent a lot of time consciously trying to mimic how teenagers talk and it just doesn’t work.
My one other issue was the reveal, which I thought was weak. I won’t get into the why but I do give the author props for (view spoiler)[killing off the love interest. (hide spoiler)] You don’t see that in YA too often. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)