I also received Van Diemen At 17 as an ARC, and while it is not the normal genre of book I typically choose to read, I was anticipating it for a few sI also received Van Diemen At 17 as an ARC, and while it is not the normal genre of book I typically choose to read, I was anticipating it for a few self-indulgent reasons. Like Kara, I was a teen in the 80's who spent a little more time than normal feeling as if I was on the outside looking in. I also often thought that escaping away (in Kara's case via a foreign exchange student program) could potentially alter my entire existence for the better.
I feel that this novel had a lot of potential, but somehow just slightly missed it's mark. How many of us as teens felt like it was "us against them" and that nobody understood us, only to learn that it was truly "us against ourselves" and that we were the ones most not in tune with who were really were (or wanted to be). We have all heard "you are your own worst enemy" and I walked away from this book feeling as that is all that Kara ended up learning. Had she learned it in the first chapter, maybe her time in Australia could have been more of a learning/growing experience for her that would have captivated me more.
I felt that the author did a disservice to Kara's character by not even allowing the reader in. I wanted to feel compassionate towards Kara's plight, but quite frankly with no sort of development or background into who she was prior to arriving in Tasmania, it left me not really ever connecting with the character, and I felt sad about that. I wanted to feel for Kara.
I think that much more time could have (should have) been spent setting up the connection to Australia, and to the 80's. What is the point in indicating the setting if you never establish that in the context of the book. The two main components that made me excited to read it seem to me to be left on the rough draft, and never made it to the final copy. At times even the dialog between characters seemed to be out of element. Kara tended to sound much more than her 17 years, and not so much as " a girl wise beyond her years" but rather as a completely different character than the 17 year she was supposed to be.
As a previous reviewer mentioned that sequels to the book will follow, I would have to say that I could potentially give Kara another go, but I feel that the author would need to spend a little more time on character and setting developments in order to get me to want to invest my time.
As a side note, my ARC also did have quite a few typos throughout the entire text....more
I rilly rilly for seriously wanted to give this book like more stars, but because I am being totally neggy about the voice in which I had to read theI rilly rilly for seriously wanted to give this book like more stars, but because I am being totally neggy about the voice in which I had to read the book, it gets 2.5 stars.
This book has such an interesting (albeit depressing) concept when you get right down to it....and that in itself lends to why I would recommend this book to any fans of Dystopic YA. However, you need to be able to overlook some rilly rilly silly futurespeak....more
One, two....skip a few....cut to the end. That's sort of how I felt the chapters in this installment could have gone. I think that this could have beenOne, two....skip a few....cut to the end. That's sort of how I felt the chapters in this installment could have gone. I think that this could have been just a few chapters added on to the next book in the series. Truthfully. I really liked Wither, and was seriously looking forward to this book (yes, even with all the 4chan BS that went down). So, it saddens me to say that I was let down by this follow up. To label this series "dystopian" is a bit of a stretch....I would say it is more akin to being a bleak romance novel (which I normally do not partake in). But since almost every other book coming out these days lends itself to a "dystopian" plot line to maximize it's YA readership, I can sort-of see the forced union. Anyways, it took me longer than normal to finish the book, simply because of it's crawling pace. You say Rhine and Gabriel are "on the run"...nope, doesn't feel like it to me...felt more like a Sunday stroll, maybe. Throw in a few random/unnecessary/uncaptivating characters, forget that the story line revolves around Rhine actually trying to find Rowan, and call it "Fever". Thing(s) I liked: Silas. Is it wrong that I feel more of a spark in the few pages of interactions between Rhine and Silas than I feel between her and Gabriel? Oh well, I doubt that goes anywhere, but I can imagine. This book also propelled my serious like/love of Linden, as wierd as that may be. Just saying. ...more