While Trouble is written in an effortlessly engaging style I wasn't sure whether this would be my thing despite it having 5 star ratings from trustedWhile Trouble is written in an effortlessly engaging style I wasn't sure whether this would be my thing despite it having 5 star ratings from trusted friends. Look, it opens with a dose of partying, alcohol, random sexytimes, attitude and angst, and some school mean girl undertones. I have definitely outgrown these themes (they have never been my-kind-of-thing in YA) but Hannah's voice was so refreshing that despite everything I continued on. And I'm glad I did.
I was hooked on voice from the start -- but, IMO, the first 50-80 pages are the weakest. Things really gained momentum after a tenuous start and it soon became clear that this book is completely non-cliche, full of genuine heart, 3D characters and a plot that sails along unexpectedly (whatever you assume this teen pregnancy book is about, it isn't).
I love how Trouble is told in alternating POV -- like the plot, it is unconventional -- happily switching between Hannah and Aaron mid-scene, flipping back and forth in short bursts or sometimes holding one POV for extended lengths of time.
Also it would be criminal for me not to mention the swoon (in an unexpected and unpredictable way).
So many threads come together spectacularly in the last quarter of the book -- at this point the book really hits it's stride and the emotion and gut-punches are real and beautiful and balanced with ache and belonging and horror and hope. And the ending was just fantastic (although I could happily have gone on reading what happens next...)
I liked this a lot -- it was engaging and a read I found myself heading back to, consuming it in a couple of days. I am impressed with this debut and have a feeling Non Pratt could easily become a fave YA author of mine. A shaky start for me that built in awesomeness to a spectacular ending. So watching out for what Pratt has next.
Thanks to Trinja and Emily (both awarding Trouble 5 shining stars and fave reads of the year) for bringing this book to my attention :)
*If we're talking stars: I'd say 3 stars for the first half and 4.5 stars for the second half....more
I really should make a shelf for books centred around amnesia as I seem to be drawn to them :)
This UK debut is making some very big waves around the gI really should make a shelf for books centred around amnesia as I seem to be drawn to them :)
This UK debut is making some very big waves around the globe. Weirdly, I cannot remember why I first added it to my TBR, but I did wait a few months to get through the reservation queue at my library and there's still months worth of people waiting behind me :D
I do love the thriller/suspense genre. What I love about it this: once I start a suspense novel such as this, with mystery elements and an undercurrent of unease, I get sucked in. Before I Go To Sleep is hugely compelling and I read it in two sittings.
It's a 5 star reading experience in the sense that I was caught up in the book and really wanting to not put the damn thing down ( 'please, kids, can't you see I'm reading?' ;)). Very mesmerising.
The thing that always gets to me about the thriller/suspense genre though: those twists (!) the climaxes (!) the revelations (!) and ... the melodrama.
Before I Go To Sleep was pretty typical fare: well written, sharp, mysterious, intriguing. Tightly plotted.
And then, the second half is unleashed. At this point, I am sucked in. At this point, things start unravelling in the story and I am guessing at twists (it is to be expected) and desperate to find out what's really going on (and see if I am right). It is also at this point where the book changes from being believable to being much more dramatic (less believable) entertainment. Although most the villainous melodrama was held off until the climax (thank you). I think it is standard of the genre, and it does make me cringe somewhat. I had a similar experience reading Still Missing ~ a book I loved earlier in the year, despite it's ridiculous and overly ambitious twist-like revelations.
I cannot say I cared for the characters, but I do not read this genre to care for characters. I can say I cared for the situation Chrissie was in and that kind of amnesia is still whirring in my mind. It was rather nightmarish and, in some ways, I prefer to be dead than to live like that :/
In conclusion: 5 stars for the thrilling, unputdownable times. Bump it down to three stars for those moments of melodrama which occasionally leave a bad taste in my mouth. Level it out to 4 stars b/c I don't want to think too hard about this book which was pure entertainment.
I do think it felt incredibly well researched and some aspects of (the amnesia) are truly fascinating and mind-boggling. Also, I will read more of this authors work.
Hunting Lila was a little bit like watching a teen movie: a fun blend of romance and soft-thriller-action. I'm labeling it as a popcorn munchie type mHunting Lila was a little bit like watching a teen movie: a fun blend of romance and soft-thriller-action. I'm labeling it as a popcorn munchie type movie[book]: a little bit swoony, smiley, action-y and definitely addictive. It even features some twist-y turn-y plot revelations in the end, adding some unpredictability and a bit of oomph to the climax.
I actually pretty much read this all in one go. It completely suited my mood at the time. I read a fair few adult thrillers and while Hunting Lila had that thriller aspect, it felt more like a mash-up of YA contemporary romance with soft-sci-fi aspects. It felt kind of like a guilty pleasure as it was rather light and flirty to read.
In terms of plot my crude analysis is: the first 50% focuses a lot on Lila crushing on (22 year old, brother's best friend) Alex. It was smiley and full of all kinds of YA swoon. The second 50% was where the action kicked in and things veered to the "X-men" side of things.
I really liked the older YA vibe, the military base setting, and the British narration. And, I really liked Alex ;)
Expect something light, flirty and fun ~ don't take yourself too seriously with this one. Good fun, good times. I am definitely reading #2 :)...more
I am out on my own little limb here in saying I did not care for this book *waves to all my goodreads buds who love it to the max*
It is not the subjecI am out on my own little limb here in saying I did not care for this book *waves to all my goodreads buds who love it to the max*
It is not the subject matter that irked me but rather the heavy-handed and melodramatic way in which it was handled.
This book, IMO, is the equivalent to a daytime drama* ~ complete with sappy character names (Lochan, Maya, Kit, Tiffin and Willa are the children), over-wrought "true love" sentiments, parental issues of alcoholism, abandonment and abuse, and an oh-my-gosh extreme climax (designed either to make a statement or just for forbidden love shock angle?).
The love Lochan feels for Maya (his sister) is all-consuming. In his mind it is love, no doubt, but it is a dark, all-consuming force. He is possessive, jealous, brooding and manipulative as he clings (and wrestles) with his desire for his sister. His intense love for her, and the way in which he declares it, is reminiscent of the romance Edward and Bella share in TWILIGHT (in intensity/forbiddeness/ and i-would-rather-die-than-face-the-world-without-you sentiments). It's hard-core, and Suzuma goes all out with poetic prose and cheesy statements.
While Lochan's behaviour is certainly plausible (in a teen who's view of himself and the world is so polarised), I struggle with that version of "love" being shown as romantic ~ and being written in such a way to gain the sympathy of readers. It is rather creepy and obsessive (although softened somewhat by Lochan's own social phobias/mental health problems which make him a character some readers would long to care for).
The only characters I really cared for in this book were Lochan and Maya's siblings, who are neglected and abandoned and I genuinely ached for them (although their problems take a back seat behind the incest-love-drama)
I found the prose a little heavy to trudge through and the sex scenes a bit too explicit (okay, they were too tackily explicit) for my preference.
FORBIDDEN is like a Romeo & Juliet forbidden love story with a sensationalist incest twist and an ending designed to shock and enrage readers on behalf of the characters. I get why it has garnered so much curiosity and also why so many people are gasping and weeping at the end. It is gripping and shocking and makes for an unrelenting read. It's quite dark and I felt like a heavy weight was sitting on my chest as I was reading it.
Unfortunately, melodrama and all-consuming sweeping love acts/declarations in a "day-time drama setting" are just not really my thing. ...more