This book manages to be both everything I loved in science fiction when I was growing up while also being what I love about YA today. I love it to bitThis book manages to be both everything I loved in science fiction when I was growing up while also being what I love about YA today. I love it to bits!...more
This is an odd book. It manages to be gentle and ponderous while set against the backdrop of a desperately crumbling US. The setting is ripe for advenThis is an odd book. It manages to be gentle and ponderous while set against the backdrop of a desperately crumbling US. The setting is ripe for adventure and action but this is not that book, which could easily have made it boring. Instead it manages a sweet character play of loss and healing. I'm not sure it is a great book, it certainly doesn't take as many risks as it could have, but personally I really really enjoyed it....more
Parts of this book rated a 4 but ultimately it wasn't a full package for me.
My problem is that it is a suspense novel that forgets suspense in orderParts of this book rated a 4 but ultimately it wasn't a full package for me.
My problem is that it is a suspense novel that forgets suspense in order to "say something important". The plot stops so the characters can have long thought monologues with themselves. This book has great characters and plot but then it wants to spoon feed the conclusions one is meant to draw. The author doesn't give the audience a chance to think for themselves before bursting into rhetoric.
I wandered away from the book 8 pages from the end to check my twitter (and not for the first time). A good book shouldn't preach you into boredom....more
Definitely met the promises of the first book. Great drama and some of the best characterizations of sexual predators I've seen. Some truly excellentDefinitely met the promises of the first book. Great drama and some of the best characterizations of sexual predators I've seen. Some truly excellent YA.
Still a quick and exciting read but the relationships and character arcs that felt sparse in the first book are continued and explored in more depth with a realism that is often lacking in YA. Especially when YA sequels seem so often to hang on the "They broke up! Will they get back together? (Yes. Of course they will. Yawn.) It's not that it doesn't play on the same relationship difficulties that so many authors use but for once the scenario is realistically set up and the characters deal with it. It flows naturally from the plot and whether or not the main character ends the book with a boyfriend is not the be all and end all. Refreshing.
I look forward to the final book in the series....more
Not really a zombie book or a poetry book but contains stories that draw on these. It is more anthology than novel with some creepy stories interspersNot really a zombie book or a poetry book but contains stories that draw on these. It is more anthology than novel with some creepy stories interspersed in the haunted house narrative. Some did nothing for me but more as a matter of taste than as a reflection of the stories. Very light reading for horror but I'll definitely check out the sequel. ...more
I was initially excited about this book but I put off picking it up because I heard reviews about it that disturbed me. I'm regretting that now as I rI was initially excited about this book but I put off picking it up because I heard reviews about it that disturbed me. I'm regretting that now as I really enjoyed it. It handles dark subject matter but manages to have moments of sweetness as well. I liked how it explored gender relations and I actually found myself caught up in the romantic aspect of the plot. (I may have to give up my romantic curmudgeon card at this rate)
A big part of the story is about Eve's exploration and discovery of gender relations outside of the simplistic men=evil indoctrination she's been fed. Eve starts off as very sheltered in this area and it is initially treated simplistically. As Eve's understanding grows, so does the books treatment of the subject. I sincerely hope this progression continues in the sequels as much as possible within a book still considered to be YA.
My only complaint is that it does seem to hold back a little in terms of how awful people can be especially in a world as terrible as the one depicted. It hints at it though and the sequels might explore those implications further.
The only part that harkened back to the negative reviews was an inner monologue by Eve comparing a near sexual assault to being like dying or almost losing an essential part of herself. I don't dispute this feeling but I hope that the sequels will also show survivor's who are unbroken and healing in the aftermath of sexual violence....more
This book hit all the right notes for me. The main character deals with a lot and she doesn't always do it gracefully but her arc is solid. The supporThis book hit all the right notes for me. The main character deals with a lot and she doesn't always do it gracefully but her arc is solid. The supporting characters are portrayed as multidimensional characters instead of walking props. I can actually name at least 3 whom I would enjoy seeing in their own spin-off books. As an added bonus for me I really enjoyed the references to artists and musicians.
Most surprisingly I enjoyed the romance aspect to the story. Usually it's my least favorite part of any book.
Many stories cop out and make the romance easy. Problems are never more than just misunderstandings exacerbated by a lack of communication that everyone can laugh and be relieved about when things finally work out. "Oh you, why didn't you say that gift was for your sister/mother/pilates teacher!"
Worse yet *cough*lazier*cough* is when the relationship problems center around "noble" self-sacrifice.
"I am too flawed, you must be with someone who deserves you!" He said swooning dramatically over his actually-not-that-terrible hidden past. "No no," she replied, swooning just slightly more dramatically causing his brow to furrow in annoyance, "It is I who am flawed and you who deserve better!" "We can never be together!" They cried in unison mostly just talking to opposite sides of the room at this point.
This is not that book. Although it has its share of misunderstandings it treats them honestly and never relies on them as the sole source of dramatic tension.
Mostly it just feels real. No one is perfect and no one is perfectly awful. Things get messy and sometimes that doesn't clean up easy. It gives the sweet and snoogly times meaning because they're real. It gives the failures real tragedy because the characters have worked so hard. Perfect fantasy romances can be nice but this is much more relatable and ultimately more satisfying.
One last note:
This book portrays a secondary character dealing with mental illness. Sometimes this sort of issue gets magically wished away in fiction, especially movies. ("I'll cure you with my looove!" *cue my rage*) This book doesn't do that. Instead it shows ups and downs and difficult real life decisions on a path to wellness. I appreciated that....more
This book might have ended up a 2 except I have a weakness for shaky cam movies and that is what this book is. It's the Blair Witch project in novel fThis book might have ended up a 2 except I have a weakness for shaky cam movies and that is what this book is. It's the Blair Witch project in novel format. Like I said, I have a soft spot for the gimmick.
The question is "Does it work?"
Well, yes and no. I think the framing ends up keeping the characters at a distance from the reader. With the exception of the director/main character Derik it's hard to know the other characters even when we're in their heads. This might be chalked up to not enough "screen time" as the book jumps from character to character so only Derik really gets enough time to make a real impression. It means he has the most flaws as well which makes him the most relatable. Everyone else with the possible exception of Mimi is a bit of a cardboard cutout: the clown, the brain, the pretentious art guy, and the drama queen. Mimi is "the goth' but she manages to crawl out of her pigeon hole just a little more than the others. Derik is "the player" but since we mostly only see him through his own lens the stereotype doesn't get played as hard.
Sometimes it does work though and there are some really touching moments for the characters but the filming aspect felt underused as a way to understand the characters as their behaviour was either hyper aware of the camera to the point of buffoonery or they ignored it so completely that it felt unrealistic. I can see how the premise and framing could have been really effective but it fails to be used with any subtlety and the end result is ultimately shallow.
The story plays out very cinematically and you can picture the eeriness of the setting which I think was a strong point for the author. The pacing is a little odd though. Near the end there is an action sequence that if it had come near the beginning would have contributed to the setting as ominous but coming near the end it only breaks up the creepy flow that has been established. It just seemed out of place to have a physical scare when one that could have been read as paranormal was called for.
In the end it feels like the kind of book that makes people say "Of course it's not very good, it's just YA" and that is a shame. Having said that I think this book attempts to do something ambitious and I would give the author another chance just to see how she does with a more standard framing to her narrative.
If this were a movie I would probably buy the directors cut with all the side reels and bloopers and the "making of documentary" anniversary blue-ray edition. As a book I'm content to have borrowed it from the library....more