The premise of The Unquiet appealed to me instantly – a bipolar teenager with a troubling past, no...moreSee more reviews on my blog Pages & Pomegranates
The premise of The Unquiet appealed to me instantly – a bipolar teenager with a troubling past, now questioning reality. I thought it was an interesting mix of ingredients to build a story with, but I was disappointed with its delivery.
I love ghost stories. I like getting scared and constantly checking over my shoulder while reading or watching a movie. I enjoy all the things a good ghost story brings and all the things that, sadly, The Unquiet did not. With a length of almost 400 pages, the haunting elements of this book were lost in the process of shotty character development and an excessive focus on relationships. I was expecting a ghost story - a haunting, only read in the day time kind of book. A nail biter if you will. What I got was a contemporary where some spooky shit happens, and Rinn juggles her various relationships, and then oh right there were supposed to be ghosts in this! Ok bam, we have a ghost. Maybe.
Garsee does a great job of making her readers feel disoriented and confused. They will constantly question their understanding of the events and of Rinn’s sanity. Is there a ghost? Is Rinn imagining this? Could it be both? Garsee keeps the reader guessing by building up the suspense and adding to the creepy atmosphere of the novel. Readers are introduced to Annaliese at the start of the novel and her presence intensifies. While the eeriness is created gradually, it is in fact the best part of the book. The ghost story was always in the background, since students constantly had to walk through the “haunted” tunnel, but it isn’t until the end of the book that we know for sure if Annaliese is real. Granted, as the novel went on, the scare factor intensified, and the final line of the book sent goose bumps up my arm. But for a book this length, that last sentence just doesn't cut it.
Despite my disappointment with the ghost story, the trite characters pushed this book over the edge. The characters in this book were far from unique - the new girl who instantly becomes popular for whatever reason, the sexy boy next door who just gets her, the misunderstood loner, the school punching bag, the mean bitchy chick everyone just accepts despite her asshole for a personality... it goes on.
Even our main character, Rinn, eventually loses her uhmph. She’s bipolar, supposedly killed her grandmother, and was abandoned by her step-father. You would think she knows adversity, that she understands being the kid everything shies away from in the halls, that she knows life sucks. And for a short while Rinn does. But then she gets in with the popular crowd and their acceptance now means more than being a decent human being. Sure, she calls Lacy a bitch every time she hates on Cecilia, but that is the extent of Rinn's concern. I had a lot of faith in her at the start of the book, but she quickly lost her individuality and spirit.
Oh, and then Rinn totally ditches Nate to join the girls' stupid séance at the dance, and gets upset when Nate doesn't talk to her after that. Uhh hello! Well no shit Rinnypoo. As for the other characters, the only one that I wanted to know more about was Dino because he at least appeared to have some layers; unfortunately we never got to see them. All the others fit their roles nicely if not at times over the top, which is exactly why I couldn’t stand them.
Going back to Nate, he was THIS close to being a corner of the dreaded YA love triangle. But shizzle happens that I won’t tell you about and no more potential love triangle, which I appreciated. However, just because there wasn't a triangle doesn't mean I enjoyed the romantic aspect of the novel. I didn't understand the relationship between Rinn and Nate. They threw around some witty jabs and gave one another cyuute nicknames, and bam. Love. I just didn't feel these two. I didn't feel a connection with any of the characters for that matter.
Overall , the one dimensional characters, unconvincing romance, and watered down ghost story barely kept me going through the 350+ page novel. Were it not for the amazing buildup of creepiness and constant confusion, The Unquiet would lack anything enthralling, and also would not have received three stars. Maybe if the book was shorter I'd have enjoyed it more, because hopefully there would be less filler and more ghostly action.
If you’re looking for an awesome creep factor, then do pick this one up because you will get scared, eventually. Maybe starting The Unquiet without such high hopes to be scared shitless will make the reading experience more enjoyable. Also, if you enjoy contemporary novels with hard issues and could care less about paranormal, definitely get a copy because the parts that focused on Rinn’s bipolar disorder were interesting.
*A copy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Bloomsbury.*(less)
My favorite book of the year. It's a contemporary, so I wasn't expecting it to steal my fav spot, but oh my GOD! Pushing the Limits is gritty and sexy...moreMy favorite book of the year. It's a contemporary, so I wasn't expecting it to steal my fav spot, but oh my GOD! Pushing the Limits is gritty and sexy and raw and evocative and als;djfldksf I can't even. Just love. Love love love.
I picked up Trafficked because I've been studying human trafficking for some time now. I was glad to see the topic addressed in YA literature, especia...moreI picked up Trafficked because I've been studying human trafficking for some time now. I was glad to see the topic addressed in YA literature, especially since it takes advantage of so many young children and teens each year. Trafficking is not an easy subject to talk about, but it's imperative that we do. Kim Purcell tackled a heart wrenching issue and I commend her for that; but I found myself a little disappointed with its delivery.
This might be because I set my hopes too high, I was expecting a deep and gritty novel about sex and domestic trafficking, and that wasn't what I got. See, inside Trafficked are two different plots: Hannah's experiences as a trafficked worker for the Platonovs, and the mystery behind the circumstances in which she arrived in their home. While both kept me turning the pages, the second seemed to take the focus. This isn't bad, the novel was great and I enjoyed it. It just didn't meet my expectations and I was disappointed. However, I feel like Kim made trafficking more accessible for younger readers by adding in the mystery.
Hannah was an amazing character, incredibly motivated and honest. She was so strong and selfless throughout everything that happened; despite all the abuse and threats she only thought of her grandmother. It was sad following such a lovable and inspiring character. Kim created someone that readers of all ages could connect to and root for making the novel resonate with you. I wanted to see Hannah's happy ending. I wanted to see the Platonovs and Paavo pay for their mistreatment and horrible actions. And to be honest, I wanted to see Hannah beat the crap out of Lillian.
Trafficked is a hard hitting, well researched story that everyone should read. Understandably, there is violence and a handful of sexual scenes so parents of younger readers might want to make sure this one is appropriate for their children. But personally, all of this adds to the novel's impact. Even though it disappointed me in a pretty big way, I still really liked Kim’s message and Hannah’s story.(less)
Initial Thoughts: While I liked the premise of this novel, I'm not thrilled about its del...moreFor more reviews, check out my blog: Pages & Pomegranates
Initial Thoughts: While I liked the premise of this novel, I'm not thrilled about its delivery. [2.5-3 star range]
I’m not really sure what I was expecting going into this novel. I thought it would be a fun and quick read about a group of girls making their way through high school with what ever label they received, prettiest or ugliest. However, what I found was that The List is actually a much heavier novel, covering a slew of different issues. The only thing is, it just barely brushed the surface of each one.
Honestly, despite its potential, The List just fell short for me. Following 8 different characters over the course of a week was tiring. For a while I had to keep flipping back to the first page in order to keep track of who was who. Even though I eventually got accustomed to each girl’s voice, I didn’t feel like I connected with any of them. Taking on that large of a cast seriously limits the amount of time an author has to forge those connections and develop her characters. The List is no exception. While I loved the uniqueness of each girl’s situation, too much goes unresolved at the book’s end.
Another problem I have with this novel was the ambivalence of the school’s administration. Okay fine, this List has been around for forever, and tradition is tradition. But in my school, the first time this thing went up would be its last. Without thinking too much about it, a list like this seems innocuous. And for all we know, that’s why the administration has ignored it for so long; however, not even trying to get to the bottom of it is irresponsible. Thinking the List is harmless is naïve. Bottom line is the administration should have intervened much earlier on in the list’s history.
Probably the best aspect of the entire novel is the consistency of each girl’s voice. Ms. Vivian has some serious skills when it comes to creating a unique and solid voice for each of her characters. Had the novel provided more answers, or spent more time on each person, the vast majority of my problems wouldn’t exist. I realize that in order to do that, The List would have to be longer. But I for one would gladly read more if it meant I knew what happened to these girls in the end. (less)