In places I thought it was too long and the pace dragged... but the relationships redeemed it. The portrayal of Anne (which rang so, so true to me) re...moreIn places I thought it was too long and the pace dragged... but the relationships redeemed it. The portrayal of Anne (which rang so, so true to me) redeemed it. Thomas Wyatt and his poetry redeemed it. And most of all, the happiness and optimism tinted with impending doom at the end redeemed it. A happy ending, but thinking back on history and what eventually befalls Anne Boleyn... it was chilling.(less)
--Caymen. HILARIOUS. She actually made me laugh out loud a few times with her signature dry wit and sarcasm. I love how s...more3.5. Rounding up.
--Caymen. HILARIOUS. She actually made me laugh out loud a few times with her signature dry wit and sarcasm. I love how she was like this almost all the time. It wasn't a trait that was just thrown in there; it was a trait that permeated the story and made it truly Caymen's story. You couldn't plunk another YA MC into this story and have it be the same. The flavour is all Caymen's.
--The doll store. What a cool setting! I had fun imagining it, and I would love to poke around it for an afternoon in real life. I actually really like dolls, and I bought my mom a fairly pricy infant doll for this past Christmas.
--Xander. I don't know if I'd go so far as to call him "awesome," but he was definitely a non-toxic, fairly entertaining YA love interest, even if he wasn't exactly exciting to me. When LIs aren't offensive, I rejoice.
--The pace was great. I was sucked right along and never felt bored while reading. The writing wasn't amazing, but it was serviceable, and writing serviceable, quick prose is no small feat.
--This book is not really very original. I just finished reading THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE by Jennifer E. Smith and they are almost the exact same story. Normal girl whose mother owns a small shop in a small beach town meets rich and famous love interest but their economic differences keep them apart. Complete with mystery surrounding MC's rich, absent father and best friend subplots. But I can't really hold that against this book, as it is a formula that works, and even one that I kind of like.
--The "rich versus poor" thing was a little too... done? I don't know... I live in a town with a lot of rich people, and my mother kind of plays the same role as Caymen's mom: she's an esthetician and nail tech to the rich ladies of the town. So I get that set-up. Yeah, you do definitely feel that difference between the haves and have-nots, but it doesn't make you a different species. It's not like people with money automatically lack perspective or gratitude or other human virtues. I just felt like the rich people, as portrayed in Kasie West's novel, were a little unrealistically high and mighty. In real life, that gap isn't quite so big, in my opinion. That said, I felt Xander's family was actually quite nice and normal.
--I don't like Caymen's name. It reminds me of cayenne pepper or something. I don't really like how it feels to say it.
--Caymen's best friend, Skye, was no different than any other best friend cardboard cutout in YA. I felt this problem in THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE too. Come on, writers, lets give the best friend some different traits other than "quirky" and "stylish" and "supportive"!
But yeah. I liked it. It was cute and it didn't offend me. That's good enough for me.(less)
This is my second Dessen novel, the first being This Lullaby -- which I liked, but thought was pretty clunky. Lock and Key is...moreAwwwww. This one is good.
This is my second Dessen novel, the first being This Lullaby -- which I liked, but thought was pretty clunky. Lock and Key is definitely better. The subplots (and holy crap, does this book have subplots) are so well-woven, you can barely tell they're there.
Definitely looking forward to reading more Sarah Dessen.(less)
The original title for Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything was Severed Heads, Broken Hearts....more(also posted on my blog, Book Rich, House Poor)
The original title for Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything was Severed Heads, Broken Hearts. That's the title I originally saw on Goodreads and the title that initially drew me to this book. Let me tell you, if it had had the abysmal title of The Beginning of Everything from the outset, I wouldn't have even wanted to pick this up. Talk about a bland title. Even my boyfriend, who doesn't read much outside of Stephen King novels, curled his lip at that title when he saw me reading the book.
At first I thought the severed heads thing from the title was just a figure of speech; maybe a metaphor for disconnected, disaffected youth or something. But nope. In the first chapter, the MC recounts the time he and his childhood best friend rode a Disneyland roller coaster and the kid sitting in front of them stood up at an inopportune time and wound up beheaded -- with the MC's best friend holding the head in shock for the duration of the ride.
After reading that first chapter, I was like, "Sign me up, boringly titled book. You've redeemed yourself already."
Unfortunately, it went downhill from there.
The Beginning of Everything is peopled entirely with clichés. The sad, misunderstood male MC. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl he meets and falls head over heels in love with -- BUT SHE HAS A DARK, SECRET PAST. The stereotypically quirky group of "nerds" who belong to the debate club and watch Doctor Who. The Slutty McSlutterson of a cheerleading ex-girlfriend who is villainized for her sexuality. The parents who barely make an appearance. None of these characters ever make it past that initial archetype.
I really can't believe this book. I really can't.
A couple things I can't really articulate enough to write proper paragraphs on:
--The MC, Ezra Faulkner (a very silly name), has a knee injury that shattered his athletic future... but it's never really mentioned as causing him any pain. He walks with a cane most of the time. He cannot play tennis anymore. And yet the most mention we get of how the injury -- which didn't happen very long ago -- affects his day-to-day life is maybe one or two mentions of a dull ache? Maybe one instance where he fancies walking his dog, but can't? I call bullshit. This is the kind of injury that changes your life far beyond not hanging out with your teammate friends anymore.
--The secret, hidden past of the Manic Pixie was WAY TOO EASY to guess. And I am notoriously oblivious and awful at guessing twists. The instant there was a hint of foreshadowing, I was like "Oh, obviously her mom is dead" (not a spoiler, I made that example up). And I was right. Ugh!
--I hate, hate, hate it when bad things happen to animals for no reason. This book gets a thumbs down on that count alone. Also, Ezra's dog. A Standard Poodle, so fairly big. Supposed to be sixteen years old -- which is old for a small dog! -- and still able to run and play fetch? Bullshit. No way.
Aside from the occasional spot of inspired, beautiful prose, this book was dumb.(less)
Oh my gosh, the tears on my face during the last ten pages or so. And I have a cold right now so the tears were mixing with the snot and... yeah, I'll...moreOh my gosh, the tears on my face during the last ten pages or so. And I have a cold right now so the tears were mixing with the snot and... yeah, I'll spare you the details. Let's just say this is an ugly-crying book. Very, very, very good.(less)