Wow, there's four days of my life spent reading this book that I'll never get back. And it normally doesn't take me that long, but I had to self motiv...more Wow, there's four days of my life spent reading this book that I'll never get back. And it normally doesn't take me that long, but I had to self motivate myself with promises of chocolate ("If you just read one more page..."), just to get through it.
I usually don't give too many books only 1 star. In fact there is only one book I can think of that angered me this much and that was The Vampire Diaries: The Return. I only got 50 pages deep into it before I flung it across the room. So I am very proud that I was able to finish this POS to write a review.
There is NO reason this book should have a higher rating than Mockingjay, a few Harry Potter books, and The Pride and the Predjudice. NO REASON.
After all of that, I have one question for Cassandra Clare:
Was this some sort of sick April fool's joke? Why was this even published?
Now before the fangirls come out to defend their master , let me explain.
I actually liked the original 3 books. I wouldn't say I loved them or call them literary masterpieces, but I *did* find them entertaining.
City of Endless Angst City of Fallen Angels picks up 2 months after City of Glass left off. One would think the conflict between Jace and Clary was over, but no. CC has the nerve to regress her characters. And there lies my biggest problem with the book: WHERE WAS THE PLOT? While everyone was busy fawning over each other, Shadowhunters are being murdered! But, alas, no one gives a shit.
How would I describe our characters in CoFA, you ask? Well a picture is worth a thousand words:
DracoJace: Bordered between and Wangsty teen and a cocky prick And yes kids, he actually says he is better than everyone.
Clary: "He loves me. He loves me not."
Simon: I really liked him in the orignial trilogy. I found him funny. Sadly, he was boring. He wandered around this book with not a clue what was going on.
Alec and Magnus: *sigh* They didn't even show up until half the book was over. And when they did all they did is bitch about Magnus' past sex life. Yes, more and more angst.
The gang is supposed to be investigating the murders of the shadowhunters, but there isn't much investigating going on. Instead, they are too busy ignoring each other, going to Simon's band gigs, and ripping each other's clothes off in an alley. Speaking of Simon, he is apparently dating Isabelle and Maia at the same time. Yet, he doesn't know how it happened. Ya, Simon, we already established that you are confused.
What's driving Jace and Clary apart? Well, Jace starts having these nightmares where just as he and Clary are ripping away their clothes, he kills her. He decides to ignore her, so as not to hurt her. Why Clare, why? Why did you have to play the "I love you, can't you see it's killing me?!" card? Stephenie Meyer already cashed in on that lotto ticket amoungst other recent, pathetic YA novels.
To top it off, we have evil minions in gray track suits and sneakers and a badass villain killed in the most shitty ending I have ever read. And that cliffhanger! Not everyone who dies has to come back to life, Clare. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Valentine makes an appearance in the next two books.
Clare is also very inconsistent with her storyline. When Kyle is first introduced to us he has black hair. However, two pages later he has brown hair. Jace doesn't believe in God, yet has the most angel blood in him that anyone else. The *Pepsi* sign is blue and red, not Coca Cola. Jace doesn't understand any of the pop culture references Simon quotes, but Jace spews Shakespeare lines off like its second nature. Seriously, why didn't the editors catch this?
Does my review seem like it's all over the place? Well, good cause that's exactly how this book was. ALL.OVER.THE.DAMN.PLACE.
A few days ago Clare posted a FAQ about the book and ending. She is basically validating why she, Almighty Author, is a genius and you, lowly reader, are an idiot. You can read it here if you haven't already. http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com...
And you know what I have to say to her little condescending FAQ? Cassandra Clare, I'm calling you out on the bull shit. It's time to stop riding J.K. Rowling's cash cow. Get off, the ride is over!
No one gets in without being asked. And with her untamable hai...moreWTF is this?!
Tyra, Trya, Tyra... Oh you. Lol.
Let us do a bit of pre-reviewing shall we?
No one gets in without being asked. And with her untamable hair, large forehead, and gawky body, Tookie De La Crème isn’t expecting an invitation.
Tookie? Tookie?! Is that seriously the most creative name she could thing of? Then she had the nerve to tack on "De La Crème." For what, Tyra? Because if her "large forehead, and gawky body" doesn't drive the point home, her name will? Please stop while you're ahead. Oh shit, it's already published.
Modelland—the exclusive, mysterious place on top of the mountain—never dares to make an appearance in her dreams.
This book is just reeking of creativity. You can tell she totally pulled out all the stops on this one.
But someone has plans for Tookie. Before she can blink her mismatched eyes, Tookie finds herself in the very place every girl in the world obsesses about. And three unlikely girls have joined her.
Check box for Mary-sue.
Only seven extraordinary young women become Intoxibellas each year. Famous. Worshipped. Magical.
How sad is it that I can picture Tyra herself reading this in her "Top Model" voice, *Smizing* at me?
I've heard a lot about Meg Cabot's books. And it may surprise people to know that this was actually my first Meg Cabot novel. I'm not complet...more NO STARS.
I've heard a lot about Meg Cabot's books. And it may surprise people to know that this was actually my first Meg Cabot novel. I'm not completely unfamiliar with her works. One of my favorite movies of all time was adapted from one of her novels-- The Princess Diaries. All that being said, I think I made a huge mistake in having Abandon pop my Cabot novel "cherry".
Guys, this book has INSTA LOVE!
Deep breaths, Stephanie. Deep.Breaths.
It took me till page 300 to realize why I felt like I wanted to give up reading Abandon several times. And really that's pathetic that I didn't see it. I mean, I really should have peeped that way earlier. But it's not my fault because Abandon was so hard to even follow thanks to Pierce's convoluted ramblings about her pathetic life and her intermittently reminding herself to check yourself before you wreck yourself. This book left me confused, angry and HIGHLY disturbed. Therefore, this review will have major spoilers. Deal with it and let's explore these emotions.
"What Just Happened?"
It's probably not a good sign for a reader to finish your novel and not have a single clue what the point was. Not even an inkling for what you were trying to accomplish. And believe me. I wanted so much to understand and like this book, but the narration ran circles around my wee little mind. The entire first half of the novel has Pierce alluding to several past scenes as if the reader knows what was going on. Pierce would say something like, "Oh and I don't want anything to happen like it did that one time." And I'm sitting here thinking, "Oh yeah? What? What happened?! Tell me already!" I get what Cabot was trying to do, but it didn't work for me. And it definitely didn't need to go on for majority of the book. That was just cruel and wrong. It made me incredibly frustrated. Now, the parts that did manage to make some type of sense were cancelled out by Pierce's sheer stupidity. Saw dust for brains. I really don't want to say it, b-b-but.... BELLA! *gasp* And that, my friends, brings me to the anger.
"What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate!"
No, what we have here is just a failure. Pierce is one of the worst heroines I've read this year. Now, keep in mind I read both Starcrossed and Fifty Shades of Grey so far, so that's saying something. And not a good something. Moving on. Pierce meets John, a death deity, when she is a just seven-years-old. Later, when she dies at age fifteen, she sees him in the Underworld and he recognizes her too. They have a brief conversation which goes a little something like this:
"Omg, it's so cold and wet here."
"Hey, you wanna get outta here?"
So what does her do? He whisks her away to his bedroom, dresses her in a white dress and gives her the biggest diamond he could steal find. Shit you not, that is exactly how it goes down. Pierce, realizing something is not right (Though I'm not sure what gave it away... maybe because he told her she could never leave. Possibly.), throws hot tea in John's face and runs down a staircase that magically transports her back to the living world. *slow blink*
Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Meanwhile, a year and a half later...
They meet again... in a graveyard, where this poor, unfortunate soul seems to hang out. Of course, that doesn't stop our heroine from asking the all important, universal question: "Why me?" Are you kidding me? But I have to remember, the problem with Pierce is that she's so stupid, she doesn't realize how stupid she is. Instead of running away from the crazed stalker, she apologizes to him for throwing the tea in his face. You know, when she was busy escaping. Pop quiz: What do you get when you mix not-so-bright heroine with a gallon of selfless? Mary-Sue.
So, yeah, the graveyard. Here they are, in the rain, having a "lover's spat" over... well, I'm not exactly sure why they were fighting, but John ends up getting semi-violent, throwing her diamond and demolishing the cemetery gate. Lovely guy. Do you see why this book made me angry? Here we have yet another YA heroine with a controlling, violent male, trying to not be involved with him, and she's apologizing for getting away. Unbelievable. It was at that point where I really didn't think this novel could get any worse. Until, of course, I got to the disturbing part.
The Return of Pedobear (I wish I were joking):
Somehow the cemetery sexton gets involved and Pierce opens up and confides in him. She goes on and on about how he randomly has shown up in her life, how he scares her, how he's a nightmare, how bad things happen when he's around, etc. Do you know what he says to her after that?
"So if I might make a suggestion for all our sakes, why don't you try"--his brown eyes were pleading--"just being a little sweeter to that boy?"
Yes, that's right girls. When you are in an abusive relationship, trying to escape, it's not his fault. It's totally your fault for not being sweet enough to him. Because there is no such thing as personal accountability and it is your job to make sure he remains calm enough to not destroy you and everyone you love in a hurricane. But don't worry. He loves you. Gag me.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Excuse me while I rage across my living room.
Ohhhhh... but it gets better. I mentioned before how I didn't recognize the insta-love until page 300. That might seem really strange. And it is. It's mostly because Pierce and John spent so much time trying to "non-avoid" each other and argue that I completely didn't see it. Well, on page 300 John confesses his love to Pierce. His LOVE, people.
Love? What love? In all of their encounters (six by my count, including when she was seven), they probably spent no more than thirty minutes together at a given time. And I'm being generous. And then I remember Pierce's dear, sweet granny. The one that took her to the graveyard when she was seven, in hopes that John would run into Pierce and--I hope you're sitting down for this one--fall in love with her. At seven-years-old. That's why he kidnapped her, because he was in love with her. He stalked her because he was in love with her. He got violent when she ran away screaming from him because he was in love with her. He fell in love with her at seven-years-old.
Shall I check myself before I wreck myself now too? HUH?!
Eeny, meeny, miney, moe. Catch a kiddie by the toe...
Then in order to protect her from the Furies, he kidnaps her again (to the bedroom!), changes her clothes (AGAIN) and tells her she must stay there forever with him. But don't worry it's for her protection. Totally legit. And this time he even remembers to lock the door. She smiles. The end.
I know that this is a retelling of Persephone. I get that. But this is in no way, shape or form okay with me. Abandon had everything I hate in a book. Controlling, violent, abusive male. Check. Submissive, passive heroine with very little common sense. Check. Insta-love. check. Mary-sue. Check. Poor plot. Check.
Why? Why do I continue to see the same awful tropes over and over? Why are impressionable, young girls consistently being marketed these types of book? Please, please make it stop. Give them strong, independent heroines, loving love interests, safe and healthy relationships.
Dear Literary gods, Hear my pleas. Can you do me a solid and provide more alcohol and chocolate if I continue to run into these books?
A finished copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Thank you!
EDIT: Okay, here's the thing, I feel the need to clarify a few things. This review is in no way, shape or form alluding to the fact that the author is...moreEDIT: Okay, here's the thing, I feel the need to clarify a few things. This review is in no way, shape or form alluding to the fact that the author is sexist. Are there characters in the novel that are depicted as sexist? Yes. Do I think the author is sexist and that he was trying to write a sexist book? No. Did the book come off as sexist to me? Yes.
This is just an interpretation of the novel and has nothing to do with the author's intention. Just so we're clear.
Actual rating: NO STARS
I can't believe I survived. Should I laugh? Cry?
Full disclosure: I went into this book with a suspicion that I might not enjoy it after my bookish twin panned it. But since I requested this book and was sent a paper ARC from the publisher, I thought I'd try to go in with an open mind and try it out.
That was probably not the best decision I've ever made in life.
It goes without saying that this review will be long, contain spoilers and quotes that might possibly make your eyes bleed. RUN WHILE YOU STILL CAN.
There are two reasons why I felt I NEEDED to have this book. (1) Just look at that cover! (2) The blurb made it sound like a fun summer read. On both of those counts I was mislead, but especially when it came to the blurb. If you think this book has romance, guess again. If you think it will keep you on the edge of your seat, guess again. If you expect this book to be coherent in any fashion, guess again!
What you will get with September Girls is an anti-climatic plot, slut shaming, gendered language, poorly represented feminism and sexism. Oh and penises. Isn't it everything you could have hoped and dreamed for in a mermaid novel?
Okay so the book follows this boy named Sam. His mother has just left him, his brother, Jeff, and his dad for some mysterious placed called Women's Land (more on that in a bit.) Sam's dad quits his job and they journey to this strange beach that is brimming with girls. Not just any girls. Highly sexualized, blond, perky breasted, toned-bottomed, tanned girls. And guess what? They all want Sam. Sam, who slut shames, starting from page 25 where he reminisces about groping a girl's breasts "through her deliberately slutty Alice in Wonderland costume." Sam, you can't feel a girl up and then slut shame her once you've gotten what you want, silly!
Then you have Jeff, who's only care in the world is having sex as much as possible over the summer. He doesn't particularly care who it's with as long as she is hot and preferably drunk. You know, the usual standards.
"Oh, who gives a fuck," Jeff said. "The point is they're hot and they're here. I hope they're already drunk when we get to the party. I hope they are ready for a piece of this." He groped his crotch obnoxiously.
Such an outstanding gentleman. Ladies, don't rush this stud all at once!
Sebastian was a really random character who didn't even have physical presence in the book, but I've decided I hated him slightly more than the others. You see, Sebastian was just full of dating advice for Sam. And when in doubt, Sam would always wonder what his good old buddy would say.
Oh, Sebastian, I'm such a boring character with absolutely no depth or personality and this hottie is talking to me. What should I say?
"Girls like to talk about themselves. If you can't think of anything to say, just ask some dumb question about nothing, and if you're lucky she'll go off and you won't have to say anything else for another ten minutes and she'll think you're a great listener."
He's like a Dr. Phil, I swear. He clearly understands the complexity of the female mind.
But... I think I might be falling for her even though we've only interacted a few times. I'm thinking about her all the time, but she seems smart and appears to be ignoring me. What now?! Should I go looking for her, find out where she lives, visit her at her work place until she relents?
"Wait, this is all over some girl? Don't be such a fucking vagina, dude! I mean, dude! You go to the beach for a month and you turn into a human tampon!"
What a guy! I just love it when someone uses the name of my genitals to insult someone! For those of you like me with small female minds, that roughly translated as:
Were any of the above quotes supposed think, "Oh hells yeah. These guys sound so authentic. This book is so--" Wait, let me see what the back of the ARC says. Oh yeah, "poetic and punchy, sarcastic and true," says Sara Shepard. Well, damn. Who am I to argue with that logic and quotes that were clearly "sarcastic and true." I suppose I'm just a sensitive little female with no humor bone in her body. In fact, I have no bones. I am made of tampons.
What I really don't understand is why Madison couldn't make any of his characters likable. Having your male characters degrade women with their words at any chance they get isn't authentic. It's insulting to both genders and a disservice to humanity.
There were times when September Girls attempted to actually tell a story. The only problem is that almost nothing ever happens. Oh, I lied. Sam does do things. Here is his routine:
-Wake up -Monologue -Walk around the beach -Monologue -Have women thrown at his feet -Monologue -Stare at a Girl's "heart-shaped ass." *raging boner* That slut. -Monologue -Come home -Skip monologue. The Price is Right is on. -Monologue -Jerk off -Ahhhh... sweet self-satisfaction! -Sleep
Oh shit, I hope not!
September Girls' biggest problem would have to be the amount of slut shaming and the overall deeming attitude toward women. (And if you are unfamiliar with what slut shaming is, here is a great article at The Book Lantern.) Jeff just looks at them as conquest, something to satisfy his pleasure. Sebastian can't be fucked to show any human decency. And Sam follows after the other two, except he takes it a step further when his brother starts hanging out more with a certain Girl named Kristle:
"He had clearly entangled himself in that dire pussy-web he'd warned me about on our first night here."
That's right, guys! Beware the female "pussy-web." It'll gettcha! What kills me about this is that it isn't assumed that his brother may like Kristle just because she's a person. Instead, they reason that if a guy falls for a girl it is strictly because of what she is offering sexually, therefore, objectifying her.
"And by the way, Kristle's a total slut, so I hope you haven't caught anything from her yet."
Tell us how you really feel, Sam.
"Okay, she's not a slut," I said testily. "Just a skank."
So glad we got that cleared up!
Not only do the men in this novel have a blatant disrespect for women and slut shame, but the Girls do as well. The one Girl who does this the most is one special ray of sunshine named DeeDee. Now, mostly DeeDee just talks a bunch of shit and makes about as much sense as a screen door on a submarine. She was also their resident Ho-olgist. She knew all about dem hos in the bible. Those are her favorite stories. Dem hos. See if you can keep up with the poetry she's spittin':
"I like the parts about hos, even if they always come to a bad end. Eat a fucking apple, you're a ho. Open a box, you're a ho. Some guy looks at you: turn to stone, ho. See you later, ho. It's always the same. The best one is Lilith--also a ho, but a different kind of ho. She went and got her own little thing going, and for that she gets to be an eternal demon queen, lucky her. No one likes a ho. Except when they do, which, obviously, is most of the time. Doesn't make a difference; she always gets hers eventually."
"Is that really in the Bible?"
"No. Some of it. Well, the ho with the apple at least."
"I never thought of her as a ho."
The ho... with the apple. I... HUH?
"God," DeeDee said, reaching for an ashtray and stubbing out her cigarette. I couldn't take my eyes off her. "Kristle can be so ridiculous. But who knows what I'd do without her. Total ho, by the way--not that I'm judging; I actually like hos myself. Maybe I am one--I barely know what counts anymore. Being blond certainly never helped anyone's case."
She's probably even got hos in different area codes. I wouldn't put it past her.
Poor Representation of Feminism:
And this is the part that really made me rage. So Sam's mom was a housewife from what I gather from the book. Now the thing is, when you are a parent or mate that stays home, it can be very easy to fall into the rut of *exclusively* taking care of everyone else and forgetting your needs too. Moreover, everyone else in the household might forget. That's why it's so important to find a hobby, get outside the house, do things for yourself for your own sanity and health. There is a scene where Sam and DeeDee are talking about housewives and how she feels being a housewife would be fun because they don't work and they are apparently "free." Sam has a monologue moment where he says "my mother spouted about something called the Feminine Mystique" and he considered it "pure shit."
Then he goes on to say this:
"If you were housewives you could just sit around all day with your feet in footbaths full of Epsom salts."
This is a common misconception of the role of a housewife and it's one of the most under-appreciated jobs a person can ever have. That passage is problematic and further perpetuates the stereotype of a housewife being lazy and doing nothing all day. I REALLY don't appreciate the attempted humor here when in the 1950s, suburban living had a very high rate of suicides among women. (Richard Yates highlighted this a bit in his novel Revolutionary Road. There was also a film adaptation where the DiCaprio/Winslet duo wrecked havoc on my feels yet again!) Managing the home and kids while being separated from society literally drove some women insane. Even in today's world, women who stay at home suffer more emotionally then their working counterparts.
Back in May of 2012, Gallup.com did a survey of over 60,000 US women between the ages of 18-64 and their results were depressing.
Stay-at-home moms also lag behind employed moms in terms of their daily positive emotions: They are less likely to say they smiled or laughed a lot, learned something interesting, and experienced enjoyment and happiness "yesterday." Additionally, they are less likely than employed moms to rate their lives highly enough to be considered "thriving." - Gallup.com
Mothers at home also can have feelings of worthlessness and lack of accomplishment. Many of what they do, volunteering in schools and taking care of the children, goes ignored in our society. I think it was in very poor taste for Madison to use this as joke fodder in his novel. Sam was only one step away from calling her a "bored housewife." At this point nothing should surprise you in this book when it is nothing BUT female stereotypes.
So his mom stayed home to take care of her family until one day she discovered FaceBook. First, she would post things on his FaceBook wall, but then she moved onto Farmville (which I hear is ridiculously addictive). He complains about her always being in the basement on the computer all day playing this game. And when she's not playing, she's always talking about it. But according to Sam, the real problem starts when she makes friends. Because his mother having a life is definitely a major problem! I guess he expected his mother to do his laundry and cook him dinner forever and ever!
"She got all interested in this weird crap that she wouldn't have been able to tell you about before. She's reading all this poetry; she has a Tumblr, although I avoided looking at it. She won't shut up about this thing called the SCUM Manifesto..."
Sounds to me like his mother developed a hobby and found a means to have other human interaction. And hey, that's a good thing!
In the Gallup study, stay-at-home moms found other ways to cope with depression by continuing education, blogging and joining the gym to have some social time with others. - CBS Atlantica
What I also dislike is the reason why she decided to leave her family. Madison had an opportunity to show feminism in a positive light, but he instead showed an extremist. Right after she reads SCUM Manifesto this happens:
"Then one day I'm getting ready for school and she knocks on my door with a bag packed and she tells me she's going to live at something called Women's Land, where no one ever has to talk to men."
Of course. Here is evil feminism breaking up a perfectly good family. I supposed this is just as good a time to reveal my master plan. Ladies, are you ready take over the world, moving all men underground only to be used for breeding, whist women rule the world? Muahahahahahaha!
The next section spoils the ending, so click only if you are burning with curiosity or rage. Either will do.
The Girls are all bound to this little beach by a curse placed on them by their father for... reasons. I didn't really understand why this was, but I think it had something to do with seeking revenge on their mother. BTW, their dad is the Endlessness and their mother is the Deepness. Don't ask me what that means. Anyway, it's really not important. What's important is this curse because it's the reason for why the Girls are so sexual. The book has sections where the Girls narrate and they describe this "knife" they have. This supposed "knife" is basically good looks. Perky breasts, perfect butt, blond, overall hotness. This is another stereotype I picked up on where women, who approach men instead of waiting for a guy or use their looks to gain things, are looked at as "predators."
But, of course, when the summer ends the Girls go into some weird lethargic state where their hair skin become dull and their faces sullen. No boys, no "knife." So basically this is how I pictured them:
The only way each one of them to break the curse is if they have sex with a virgin boy. And they can't even initiate the encounter. They have to wait for Sam to talk to them first. So let's recap here: Not only do the Girls not have a choice when it comes to breaking the curse (well, they kinda do: break it or die), but it must be done by a male penis swooping in to liberate them. Their sexuality is not their own. It is owned by men.
I mean, goddamn! I really think this book hit on almost every way to demean a women. That is quite a feat considering I never thought I'd read a book that offended me more than Fifty Shades of Grey. Congrats, September Girls! You get the new title of Worst Book I've Ever Read right up there next to Revealing Eden.
If it isn't obvious, this book is terrible and I could never recommend it with a good conscious. But what do I know? Both Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly thought it was brilliant and gave it glowing reviews. Clearly, this is the sign of the end of the world because here's the truth: Reading September Girls was like being swept away by the ocean and drowni--
ARC was received via publisher for an honest review. No monies or favors were exchanged, though, I guess that's pretty obvious.