Time for a moment of honesty. When I read the synopsis of THE IMMORTAL RULES, I thought of one thing – the plot of the 2009 vampire dystopian movie “D...moreTime for a moment of honesty. When I read the synopsis of THE IMMORTAL RULES, I thought of one thing – the plot of the 2009 vampire dystopian movie “Daybreakers”, starring Sam Neill and Ethan Hawke and the creeptastic Willem Dafoe. Humans have become the blood cattle to vampires in a dystopian city, with humans an endangered species and vampires running out of the blood they need to live. Oh, but Willem Dafoe apparently knows the cure.
Okay, back to THE IMMORTAL RULES. So I was skeptical. Especially when I read three more synopses for coming books that sounded exactly alike, but that’s beside the point for now. But I was surprised. After the first 50% of the book went by slowly, I found myself enjoying this book despite the fact it didn’t really bring anything new to the table (except in the YA world, in which case it brought so much). The last half of this book was pretty darn epic, with action, adventure, the beginnings of romance, and some very interesting twists.
THE IMMORTAL RULES follows Allison Sekemoto, a girl living by the skin of her teeth in New Covington, a vampire city. Her registered mother died giving blood to feed their vampire overlords, and since then Allie has sworn not to give herself to the bloodsuckers – she’s half-starved and desperate. But when a plan goes awry and she is given the choice between dying and becoming the thing she hates the most, she chooses to become a vampire. Because if she died there would obviously be no story here.
I want to split this review into two parts since, for me, this book was really two sided. Starting with the first part…
Our introduction to Allie’s world on the streets of New Covington and her bonds with the street rats around her – and eventually the vampire world – was kind of a letdown. It took me about 10 days to read the first 50% of the book. I found myself bored by her slow progression through the plot, even though I found myself quite loving her character. It was just that everything happened so slowly. On the streets, outside the walls, an attack, a rebirth, some training, some vampire movie tropes, more tropes, some True Blood-style crying…
Okay, so basically I didn’t really like the first half. Almost gave up. But thankfully, I didn’t.
The second half pretty much turned on the awesome. I won’t tell you much because it would spoil the book, but once we get to Allie’s adventures outside the walls – meeting humans struggling to survive, farmers struggling to survive, bikers not so struggling to survive – the book really picks up. This book is about 500 pages long, so you’re going to take a little while to plow through it, but once you get into it, you’re going to be pretty much hooked.
This book isn’t perfect, but it’s a perfectly serviceable vampire/post-apocalyptic hybrid. I won’t call it dystopian because there is nothing seemingly perfect in this society. I wish we had gotten to know more in book one about vampire politics and how these cities really came to be – a lot of it was glossed over and pushed aside in favor of more action. Being a politics junkie, though, this might have just been me. The writing isn’t anything special, and there was the problem of a lot of convenient moments that happened, giving the characters an easy out instead of a challenge.
And there is the problem of the cover… Sekemoto is a Japanese name. Allie is described as being exotic. I (and a bunch of other authors) got the impression that she was Japanese, but why was the girl on the cover Caucasian? I know many a Japanese-Caucasian person, but they rarely look passably white. But this dead horse has been beaten until it’s a fine powder. I’ll let you make up your own opinions and decide for yourself.
If you are looking for an action-packed story that makes vampires pretty much scary instead of sexy and if you like your young adult fiction bloody, you might want to give this one a look. It isn’t without its issues, especially a rather bland first half, but the finale of this entry into the BLOOD OF EDEN series is stunning. I can’t wait to read book two!
VERDICT: Plodding first half aside, THE IMMORTAL RULES is an action movie-turned-novel bringing together the best of vampires and post-apocalyptic stories. Action fans shouldn’t miss this one.(less)
Martha Schabas’ debut VARIOUS POSITIONS has had a less-than-stellar reputation amongst my friends and other online reviewers, with a lot of hatred goi...moreMartha Schabas’ debut VARIOUS POSITIONS has had a less-than-stellar reputation amongst my friends and other online reviewers, with a lot of hatred going towards it. I went into it not knowing what to expect other than ballet and sex. But something about the premise intrigued me, even though I am normally not a fan of contemporary books, nor do I know ANYTHING about ballet. What I found, though, was a book pitched as young adult that really should be on adult shelves only, a book about a girl going through a sexual awakening in the competitive world of ballet.
VARIOUS POSITIONS is about a 14 year old ballet student named Georgia, who has recently been accepted to the most prestigious ballet school in Canada. With girls pushing each other to do horrible things (become anorexic, lose their virginity to strangers, etc), Georgia has set her sights on the school’s notorious head teacher, a famed choreographer named Roderick. Famous for his harsh words and brash teaching mechanisms, he incites fear in most of the girls. Showing any emotion to his criticism, girls claim, is grounds for expulsion and the end to their ballet dreams. But for Georgia, he is the object of her affection. She imagines a relationship between them despite their massive age difference, and even thinks about having sex with him. Things only escalate from there.
This is definitely not a book for everyone. As I mentioned, I don’t think this book should be targeted at the YA audience. The book is heavily based on sex between teacher and student – Georgia with her teacher and then again between Georgia’s parents in the past. She spends a great deal of time fantasizing about sex, watching porn, and getting into compromising situations with Roderick. Although the protagonist is 14, she comes off more as a 19 or 20 year old, with her thoughts, mannerisms, and words. The publisher says this book is for teens aged 14-18, but I disagree with this. This is a book for girls 16 and up, if not adults outright, and I think marketing it to adults instead would have done this book a much greater service.
While I did not sympathize with Georgia, I did enjoy her narration, looking at it from a purely outsider perspective. Her thoughts were strange and repulsive, yet at the same time they draw the reader into her world. The life she has adopted for herself and decided to love is utterly fascinating, from the lengths these girls go to in order to succeed or their relationships with one another. Schabas portrays the trials and tribulations of young ballet dancers well, from their struggles with weight to the expectations put on their heads by their teachers, their families, and themselves. In addition, after reading this book, I really wanted to rewatch Black Swan. Totally random thought, I know.
The writing was for the most part strong, although there were a few too many awkward metaphors used too often, comparing smiles to leaving the lights on when you leave a room. Schabas definitely shows promise, but I think with better marketing, this book would have been a much stronger debut. It is not YA and marketing it as YA really did take the book down a notch for me.
VERDICT: A strong debut in a category where it doesn’t belong, VARIOUS POSITIONS is a well-written story of a girl’s sexual awakening in the world of ballet. But really, this book is not for young adults, and I would not recommend this to girls under the age of 16 at all.(less)
I think the moment where I heard about STARTERS was a very happy one. I read the premise and found myself immediately sucked in. It was an instantaneo...moreI think the moment where I heard about STARTERS was a very happy one. I read the premise and found myself immediately sucked in. It was an instantaneous thought where I KNEW I had to have this book. And maybe that was the point where I set my expectations for what I would eventually read very high, because when I turned the last page and closed this book, I was disappointed.
STARTERS follows Callie, a girl in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles after the Spore War, a not-well-explained war where spores were launched in warheads into the US. All the people 18 and under and 60 and over were vaccinated, but everyone else who wasn’t ended up dying. Callie is a Starter under 20 – also she’s an unclaimed minor protecting her sick little brother and constantly hunted by the marshals trying to round up the under-20s and send them to institutions. Callie has decided to rent her body to an Ender (an over 60) to pay for her brother’s health. Except things don’t go as planned…
Sorry for the bad synopsis. I’m really getting bad at describing these books in layman’s terms and not some fancy pants official synopsis-ese! But I thought I’d tell you that before I get into the list of disappointments.
Oh, Starters. You definitely disappointed me. Why, do you ask? The complete lack of reasonable, rational world building.
For one, I thought of the movie Deep Impact, in which an asteroid is hurtling itself at the Earth and the President is forced to save only 1 million people. Instead of sending all the kids and elderly, the vulnerable populations, to the caves, 200,000 culturally and scientifically relevant people are selected – authors, teachers, artists, actors, etc – plus 800,000 selected from a lottery. It ensures the survival of the human race AND all the traits we need to keep civilization going. Instead, these people saved all the elderly and all the young. Apparently some 20-60 year olds lived, but we never see or hear about them.
Secondly, the ages. The elderly can now live to be 200 given the wealth for treatments. A 200 year old would be roughly equivalent to today’s 100 year old I would suspect, meaning a 60 year old would be about a 30 year old. So that’s not very vulnerable to disease, eh? Likewise, discriminating against the teenagers because of a job’s act that happened BEFORE the Spore Wars, including sending kids without parents/grandparents to jail is rather dumb. I’m sure there are jobs out there that need kids – farm workers, sewage, waiters, etc – but instead, all jobs are held by the elderly.
And the Spore War itself! Wouldn’t a missile destroy all the spores? Who sent these spores? Why the hell is the US government so incompetent since we’ve spent billions on a missile defense network that they keep claiming works, doesn’t work, works again, maybe works, etc?
If you read other reviews on Goodreads, you’ll see that other people have had complaints with the world building. But I cannot fault this book on that, not entirely. I finished this book and found myself quite compelled by it when I looked past the world building. Callie wasn’t the best heroine ever – she’s dumb at times, annoying at others – but she was interesting enough. It was clear what she was fighting for, even if she was… Well, she was Callie. The side characters besides Helena, Callie’s renter, aren’t fully explored. In fact, a lot of the adults come off as very strange and at times idiotic. For being 120, they’re about as gullible as a toddler.
What I enjoyed the most was the twistiness of the story. Although Lissa Price’s debut wasn’t the spectacular joyride I had hoped for, she sure does know a good twist. One or two were predictable, but there were so many going on that it was hard to keep up. After about 100 or so pages of plodding action, we get to the conspiracies, and this is when the story flourishes. If the world building had been up to par with the action and intrigue, this would have been five glowing stars exploding into supernovas. Instead, it’s in the middle – it’s good, but far from great. I will definitely be reading the sequel, ENDERS, but I won’t be going in with as high hopes.
VERDICT: Another book suffering from a lack of strong world building, STARTERS loses its punch without a strong basis. Great action, pacing, and twisting cannot make up for the shoddy foundations.(less)
I had my eyes on STRUCK for a number of months. When it became available for review via...moreReview will go live at http://book-brats.com on May 8th, 2012.
I had my eyes on STRUCK for a number of months. When it became available for review via NetGalley, I pounced like a hungry leopard and forced myself to find the time to read it. The plot is wonderful, unique, strange and unusual. But the synopsis only barely touches one thing about this novel, and that’s a really, really important thing that might turn off a number of readers who jump into it…
STRUCK is the story of Mia Price, a girl who has a rather dangerous addiction to being struck by lightning. She’s been struck a number of times, and her mother moved her and her brother to Los Angeles right in time for a massive earthquake that destroyed downtown LA (but mysteriously left water and electricity on in Santa Monica – that’s about 15 miles, and therein lies a plot hole). LA is left in ruins and the US government is too busy overseas to care about the problems at home. A televangelist prophet has predicted an earthquake that will destroy the world, caused by a storm, and Mia is the key to their plans, along with the opposing side’s plans to stop them. And Mia objects to this, of course.
Mia Price is a fairly independent main character, belied by her occasional stupidity rushing into danger without thinking first. I really did connect with her on a certain level, drawn in by her snarky voice and her memories of a time when there wasn’t pain and crazy spreading like the flu. She’s had to deal with her mother for a year after the Quake, during which time her mother was trapped under the ruins of a building for days and left with PTSD. Her brother Parker is a headstrong young boy who wants nothing more than to take the role that Mia shuns, throwing himself into danger wanting to save the world when he doesn’t have the necessary skills. Then there is Jeremy, the designated love interest of this story, and also the creepy stalker that follows Mia around, sneaks into her bedroom, and basically made the romance not very believable. Once again, we have a relationship built on “He’s so hot” instead of “I can see myself living the rest of my life with this strong, kind man.”
But I should probably get to that little issue I mentioned earlier. This book is REALLY religious. As in both sides in the fight have a biblical background, and this apocalypse? Yep, it’s the End of Days mentioned in the Bible down to a T. The Sixth Seal, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the righteous being saved – all that is mentioned, and not just by the Followers of the Prophet and the Church of Light. The “good guys”, the Seekers, are also biblically-focused, following the world of a seeress from 200 years ago who predicted the End of Days and Mia as a martyr for mankind. I am not a religious person, I’ll admit it, so all of this was hard to read. It ranged from being preachy to not, but I really am not a fan of religious fiction, and this seemed like it would have been better off with a Christian publisher versus a mainstream YA one. Just saying.
The romance in this was also hard to believe, with the stalker boy going from stalker to hot makeout sessions in two days? Jeremy seemed like a nice enough guy, but we barely get to know him, leaving me feeling that this relationship was nothing more than a needed plot element. Especially since he stalks her. And about 70% of the way in, after we are really introduced to the stakes and the players involved, things start getting REALLY ridiculous. I almost stopped reading, but after I trudged through about 50 pages of weird randomness, the story picks back up and you’re back into the thick of it.
Other than that, and a few plot devices that I took issue with but won’t mention, the book is really good. Characterization is great for the Price family, the writing is clean and nuanced with occasional appearances of something more lyrical. I really did enjoy the plot and the pacing was spot on. These aren’t the problems with the story, but maybe I just took fault in this novel because I am not a person that is big on religious fiction. Yes, maybe this is how society will end up, but having both sides – good and evil – be carriers of religious banners just made me feel somewhat squicky. Also, when the “God is love” guy showed up, I laughed. The male version of my mother right there.
Jennifer Bosworth in her debut shows great promise for the future and I cannot wait to see what she comes out with next. I just secretly hope it is a little more secular than STRUCK ended up being.
VERDICT: Belied with a strangely religious focus, STRUCK is an interesting, provocative debut from an author to watch in the future.(less)
EVERY OTHER DAY is the type of book I love – well, at least love the synopsis and the general idea. Action-oriented, kickass pr...moreReviewed for Book Brats
EVERY OTHER DAY is the type of book I love – well, at least love the synopsis and the general idea. Action-oriented, kickass protagonists, girl power. For the most part, Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ latest book did not disappoint. Although I have not read any of her previous books, I found myself enjoying this one with a few minor issues. This is, at the heart of the matter, a story about a girl trying to come to terms with herself with the aid of new friends, new powers, new inhabitants in her body, and lots of new, fun weapons.
Some days, the heroine of the story is human. Every other day, Kali becomes a hunter who instinctively has to hunt down paranormal critters. In her world, things like hellhounds and chupacabras and manticores are perfectly normal. You can see them in zoos. For years, she has lived with her distant science professor father hiding an ugly truth about herself. And then a classmate is infected with a chupacabra and she’s forced to intervene. The story is fun, unique, and intriguing, combining the paranormal with a world of science. As the story progresses, we learn more about Kali and her world. At times, it’s rather convoluted, strange, and confusing, giving the story one of its faults.
The other key fault I noted was choppy writing and several boring parts due to pacing issues. In such a fast-paced book, hitting slow parts immediately caused me to start skimming, which at the same time lead me to miss key points. Barnes’ writing style is also strange, using short, choppy paragraphs way too often. In moderation, these create drama and intensity, but used several times a page was overkill.
The middle 50% of the book for me was somewhat of a letdown. If this had been the entire story, the novel would have gotten 3 hearts (or less). Luckily, a fantastic conclusion is what saves this. Although I am not quite fond of one of the twists the author took, I have to give it to Barnes – the book was for the most part awesomely fast-paced and highlighted just how badass girls can be. Girl power is one of the bases of Book Brats – strong, female role models, both teenage and adult – and I think Kali D’Angelo is a great heroine. She was strong, she was smart, and she tried to do what was best for those around her instead of what was best for her. Along for the ride were a number of other fleshed out, rounded characters who had their own goals, own motivations, and personalities. It was a rag-tag gang, but one I quickly fell in love with.
If you are into slower books, EVERY OTHER DAY might not be for you. If you are like me and LOVE action, though, you MUST check out this book. Barnes’ writing might have flaws, along with the pacing and a few point where I scratched my head in confusion or bewilderment, but I really liked this book. Check it out!
VERDICT: Although it is not without its faults, EVERY OTHER DAY is fast-paced, exciting, and full of girl power. This book is kickass and full of bite that lovers of action-oriented reading will love.(less)
With all the hype surrounding it, UNDER THE NEVER SKY is not a book you can avoid – for long. After some wariness, I got myself a copy and dove in. Le...moreWith all the hype surrounding it, UNDER THE NEVER SKY is not a book you can avoid – for long. After some wariness, I got myself a copy and dove in. Let’s just say that the hype on this one isn’t wrong, at least when it comes to me, a girl notoriously frightened by hype and more often than not surprisingly disappointed. With a strong mix of post-apocalyptic drama (not really fully dystopian in my opinion), awesome science fiction attributes, and mesmerizing adventures, UNDER THE NEVER SKY is a strong debut from an author who will definitely become one to watch for me.
UNDER THE NEVER SKY is the story of Aria and Peregrine (aka Perry), two teens from different worlds told in third person past tense. Aria has spent her entire life in a Pod, ensconced from the world outside that has fallen victim to the Aether storms, which are like hyperactive lightning storms that destroy everything in their paths. Perry, meanwhile, is a member of a tribe on the outside, gifted with the ability to smell and see a lot better than normal. Fate crosses their paths when Aria follows a boy she likes into a forbidden dome, right as Perry sneaks inside against the orders of his brother.
After Aria is expelled from the Pod for her role in subterfuge (thanks to the boy she followed inside), she is discovered again by Perry, who has been kicked out of his own tribe by his brother for his actions, and for getting his nephew kidnapped. This is where the action really takes off – as Aria and Perry try to find little Talon and Aria’s mother, lost in a far off pod where she was doing research. With cannibals, aether storms that threaten to destroy them (and entrance the reader at the sheer brilliance of these storms), and long hikes into danger, UNDER THE NEVER SKY mixes themes brilliantly.
The main issue I had with this story was my inability to really connect with the main characters. With third person, you risk having your readers feel at arm’s length from the characters, never closer. For me, connecting with Aria was especially difficult. She just seemed like someone I was watching, never feeling, never really getting to know. Paired with naivety and half the book spent whining, it wasn’t until the very end (like…last 10%) where she came into her own as a person. Perry was somewhat better. I found him a much more tolerable character with a story and believability, but that brings me to my other issue…
The romance. Yeah, I’ll admit it, I didn’t find there to be any chemistry. It was like Aria and Perry just up and decided “Let’s get together!” There was little in common between them besides the randomness of their meetings and their shared trip. Was that really enough to throw these two complete opposites together? Well, in the end, I liked them together, but the process of getting there was a bit annoying and unbelievable.
Besides some minor faults, UNDER THE NEVER SKY is a wild ride and great opening chapter. I can’t wait to explore more of Aria and Perry’s story, especially with the threads created with the awesome not-so-cliffhanger-y ending. Veronica Rossi’s debut is great, mesmerizing, and definitely one you need to check out.
VERDICT: With a strong, original plot grounded in the fantastical and solid characters (with just a few faults), UNDER THE NEVER SKY mixes genres into a great blend of can’t miss awesome.
When I saw DEARLY, DEPARTED by Lia Habel on NetGalley, it automatically became my first request. Science fi...moreCheck out more of my reviews on Book Brats!
When I saw DEARLY, DEPARTED by Lia Habel on NetGalley, it automatically became my first request. Science fiction-meets-steampunk-meets-zombies?! You had me at hello! My own hype for this book became an undeniable and overwhelming force in my head. When I dug into the book and started reading, I found myself growing disappointed. The writing is nice and the plot is very original and unique, but there was just something…missing, I guess you could say. Or maybe it just had way too much to deal with.
DEARLY, DEPARTED tells the stories of Nora Dearly (a young orphaned student living in a future Earth that has gone back to Victorian ways), Abraham Griswold (an army captain and zombie), Pamela Roe (Nora’s poor best friend), and Victor Dearly (Nora’s scientist father). I might have actually missed someone. Wolfe? I think he had a chapter, but let’s forget him. This novel had a lot of POVs – I’m thinking there were no less than five first person narrators constantly switching back and forth. Herein lies the first problem of the book – there is way too much head jumping going on, and this added weight also inflates the page count and drags down the pacing of the novel. At 470 pages, this is a thick book. Losing 150 pages or so and a POV or two wouldn’t have hurt it.
Another problem I suffered from was the setting. I have a hard time believing in the premise of the world Habel created. Why would the world revert back to a Victorian way of life? Why would South American governments allow all these Anglo-Saxons to take over their continent? I would have liked to know more about this because in this state it wasn’t entirely believable. I enjoyed her creativity and her attention to detail, such as the futuristic hints and bits and bobs. The book is described as steampunk, but I didn’t get nearly enough of the steam to make this work in that capacity. There were occasional hints of steampunk ideas, but it wasn’t entirely there.
But there was stuff I loved! Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a completely negative review because I actually liked this in the end. The characters were just great. Nora and Pam were both kick butt heroines, just the type of character that I love to show off on Book Brats. And Bram… For a zombie he is charming, sweet, and just to die for. I’m feeling punny today, so shoot me! There was just a tiny bit of instalove going on, but I was swept off my feet by the amazing Bram just like Nora was. I was rooting for them from the moment they met, and they romance was all too sweet and believable.
Writing action sequences is definitely one of Habel’s strong suits. Fighting zombies with weapons as varied as guns and parasols, she conveys a real sense of urgency and anxiety to the reader. Although she gets carried away by adverbs and other modifiers almost every sentence of the book, in these scenes of panic and hurry we are swept up in the story and can’t help but be pulled along. Zombies fighting zombies is especially fun, and for these scenes alone, I would recommend the book. Paired with an excellent romance and some smarmy characters that you will want to punch just like our heroes, and DEARLY, DEPARTED definitely has stuff going for it. It just also has issues I couldn’t look past.
VERDICT: At 3.5/5 stars rounded down, this book suffered from too many pages, too many POVs, and too many adverbs, but with a romance you’ll root for, a great original premise, and action scenes galore, it’s a book you should still pick up.
CINDER is another hyped book that I was wary about, especially since I am a big science fiction nerd. I mean, Book Brats is about science fiction and...moreCINDER is another hyped book that I was wary about, especially since I am a big science fiction nerd. I mean, Book Brats is about science fiction and kick butt girls and swoony stuff. And I was just so afraid that I was going to be let down. And like with UNDER THE NEVER SKY, I was surprised that I actually really enjoyed what I read. Although it wasn’t perfect, it was a fun, engaging book that has made the New York Times Bestseller List for a reason. And hopefully it will bring a lot more young girls into the science fiction nerd realm so I’m not all alone.
The story is about a girl named Cinder, a mechanic living in New Beijing with her stepmother and stepsisters who harbors a secret – she’s a cyborg. Adopted when she was eleven by a man who died soon after, she became a servant to her stepmother, forced to bring in money for a family that mostly hates her (with one exception). Okay, let’s face it, if you’ve seen/read Cinderella, you know the story. If you’ve seen EVER AFTER, then you’re even better off in my opinion! Da Vinci!
So yeah, the story is a little predictable because of the sheer fact it’s a retelling of CINDERELLA. In addition, the foreshadowing at times is seriously heavy handed. That was probably the main fault for me – at times the glowing neon sign above a clue’s head was flashing FORESHADOWING and Cinder carried on clueless while I, the reader, was smacking my head laughing. But don’t worry, the story more than makes up for this.
Cinder is a girl who doesn’t need anyone besides herself. She has gone through so much in her life, the pain and anguish of living under a stifling roof, being an outcast, losing things she has loved so dearly, and being unable to have what she desires the most, but does she let that stop her? Never! I was in a book store a few weeks back where I found a girl browsing books and I found myself trying to strike up a conversation about role models in young adult books. The book she had in her hand was not one I would want my daughter reading, let’s just say that. Her mother overheard us and the girl ended up taking home a book with a girl that doesn’t need a man to complete her, with both her and her mother happy. Why is this relevant, you ask?
Because CINDER is a book that I would now suggest to that girl. It has a strong female character mixed with a strong plot and effective storytelling from debut author Meyer. From Cinder to her sister Peony to android Iko to the evil Queen Levana, the vast majority of the characters are well developed and fascinating. Although it does suffer from predictability, it is still a book that evokes emotions from the reader and takes them on a thrilling ride through New Beijing and the Eastern Commonwealth. And with three books coming up continuing the story, you know this series is going to be one that gets better.
VERDICT: A fabulous series in the making, CINDER is deserving of the praise being heaped on it. Even with a few minor foreshadowing issues, this is a must read book. (less)
As a long time fan of Sophie Kinsella (not so much her real persona, Madeleine Wickham, though – I don’t like the Madeleine Wickham books at all), I’V...moreAs a long time fan of Sophie Kinsella (not so much her real persona, Madeleine Wickham, though – I don’t like the Madeleine Wickham books at all), I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER made me fearful. Not that I would be scared by the book itself, but that the book would disappoint me and ruin everything I love about Kinsella. CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC is my go-to book for when I’m depressed. Well, let’s just say that I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER, while not as impressive as CONFESSIONS, is a great addition to the Sophie Kinsella library. If you just forget that Sophie Kinsella is a pseudonym for Madeleine Wickham, author of the dreadful THE GATECRASHER, that is.
I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER is the story of Poppy Wyatt, a young physical therapist living in London and engaged to the too-good-to-be-true Magnus Tavish, a genius from a family of geniuses. Poppy and Magnus barely know one another, but he’s proposed, wedding arrangements have been made, and in a few short days they’ll be walking down the aisle. By chance, though, Poppy acquires the phone of business consultant Sam Roxton’s PA (who chucked it in a garbage can after quitting) after her phone is stolen and her ring goes missing. Poppy decides to help Sam out while using the phone for her own purposes, and of course antics ensue. This is a romantic comedy, after all.
While she wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box, Poppy was an adorable narrator full of problems, concerns, naïve thoughts, and a desire to help that is often misguided. Paired with the brash, workaholic Sam, and the relationship between these two is fun and electric. Magnus is a wonderful secondary character that really does come off as a strange love interest with some secrets that rock Poppy to her core. The plot itself was cute, fun, and unique. And seriously, sharing a phone with anyone? Sharing a phone with my mother when we’re out is like pulling teeth, especially when she goes through my email thinking that she can find directions that way. Sharing it with a complete stranger? Agh noooo!
I did have a slight problem, but this is related mostly to my eGalley (from Netgalley) copy on Kindle. Footnotes are a major part of the story, tying in Poppy’s relationship with Magnus and putting in her own personal thoughts on situations. On my eGalley, though, the footnotes would appear on random pages at random places, making the experience confusing. I wish that Kindle would do a better job of incorporating footnotes, but I guess that asking anything of Kindle is a hard bargain.
This is a longer book, but after you hit the 50% mark or so, the book flies by. It’s quick and fun and definitely Kinsella’s best book since CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC. Poppy was no Becky Bloomwood, but she was adorable and I was definitely rooting for her. And I loved Sam! He was such a great character in my opinion, but I am notoriously fond of strong business-minded types over action heroes. Magnus was equally smarmy and skeezy, creating the perfect atmosphere for the story. This book was plotted and paced well for the most part. It was charming, quirky, and adorable.
VERDICT: A definite Kinsella success, I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER is cute and romantic while maintaining a wonderful comedic edge. If you’re into cute chick lit, this book is definitely for you.(less)