When I grabbed this book from the shelves, I had no idea what it was going to be about. I am a big, big fan of judging books by their covers and this...moreWhen I grabbed this book from the shelves, I had no idea what it was going to be about. I am a big, big fan of judging books by their covers and this one was surely a winner. This one even had really cool, creepy, old-timey photographs peppered throughout the pages, which is a huge bonus as far as I'm concerned.
Soon I learned the plot: Grandpa has regaled grandson with supernatural stories and photos that look like they could have been faked. Grandson eventually learns from father that these stories have replaced a horrible truth and that Grandpa is a bit looney. Grandson idolizes Grandpa and has trouble coping after Grandpa's not-exactly-natural death. Father takes Grandson on "healing" journey that kind of ends up turning on it's head. Are Grandpa's stories true after all?
So as not to spoil anything, I'll just say it takes off from there.
Here's the thing: As I read I found myself seriously wondering if maybe the pictures in the book were not real life pictures--effects added of course. I wondered if they were actual old photographs the author had collected and written his story around. I'd put off the thought for a while and later finding myself wondering anew. Finally I flipped to the end of the book to learn that indeed, I was right. All photos are from old collections. And that seriously added to my enjoyment of the story. In fact, before I knew that, I felt like the story was only okay.
Still, I've given it 3 glowing stars here--it's not a lot, but I'd say it's pretty good. Maybe you might convince me to go 3.5? I don't know. I felt the pictures promised a different story. And one of the reviews stating that readers looking for the next Harry Potter should turn here... well, that's just ridiculous. If it was like Harry Potter I'd have disapproved (I like Harry Potter but I I've already read it). The fact that it wasn't like Harry Potter but they felt the need to put that snippet in the reviews... well, that sucks too. Lame. Don't do that. It makes me not like you.
Also, FYI, the story is geared for older teens. I've seen it placed on the "What teens are reading now" shelves in B&N without any indication as to what that means exactly. It's a hard hitter, dark in places, sad and bloody at times with some good old fashioned teen angst that isn't of the PARANORMAL ROMANCE variety... though I suppose there IS some paranormal romance...
Anyway, had I read the back, I might have been more prepared for the story but i think in the end I'd have gone back to 3 or 3.5 stars. It was good. Not great.(less)
Despite what I thought was a very, very weak start, I ended up enjoying this story very much. It's your basic boy meets girl, girl loves a jerk, boy f...moreDespite what I thought was a very, very weak start, I ended up enjoying this story very much. It's your basic boy meets girl, girl loves a jerk, boy falls in love with girl but girl won't leave jerk type teen fiction with a... Mmm... Sci-fi(?) twist.
The first 65 pages or so felt like a junior college creative wringing exercise. It wasn't thought out, there was no time given for readers to invest, and the author wrote like the story was much deeper than it was. Several times I put the book down thinking I was done with it, but held on for just one more read... And then I was enveloped.
Some books that start out poorly grab you simply in their badness, but it's essential to know that isn't the case here. I genuinely liked reading this book. I could hardly put it down despite the fact that I don't much care for love stories-nay teen romance novels. But this was [eventually] much better than that and a genuine joy to read.
The beginning could have and SHOULD have been fixed. It really could have used a few additional chapters before the focus of the story came to light, especially how an education would really work under A's circumstances. However, in every other aspect I actually liked the author's choice not to over explain or waste time covering details that did not propel the main storyline. I liked where the journey brought me and I liked where it left. Bravo!(less)
Good, but man... When it gets girly, it really gets girly. I found myself grinning through the action, loving the story, rolling my eyes at the sexual...moreGood, but man... When it gets girly, it really gets girly. I found myself grinning through the action, loving the story, rolling my eyes at the sexual tension, and cringing at the romance. And even though I wanted to shake Tris into normal, logical behavior, I just couldn't put it down.
No, that's not true. I put it down once or twice when the young romance got too thick and syrupy, but I always made myself pick it up again to see what would happen when kissing time was over.
Fun read, not deep as say, Hunger Games (a fair comparison), but good enough and quite brutal in some places. Which is good. I like that. 3.8 stars. Not quite a 4 due to predictability and the fact that I felt alienated from the text for not being a 14 year old girl.(less)