Eh, I thought I read this awhile ago but I guess not! When I went to put away the The 19th Wife, back on the shelf of thrift-store-finds to be read anEh, I thought I read this awhile ago but I guess not! When I went to put away the The 19th Wife, back on the shelf of thrift-store-finds to be read and/or properly shelved, I saw this. I remember I bought it quite awhile ago because I saw it and I meant to give it to a teen for Christmas (and then I apparently forgot about it at Christmas, because I gave her a bunch of other stuff and here it still sits). I remember thinking I had it on the kindle and that I had already read it. But no!
All i can really say is: meh.
I liked it but didn't love it. I think I just never really attached to the main character. Maybe now that The Child is 14, 12 seems very young and the main character seemed young and it all seemed kind of silly.
But the story is engaging enough that I pretty much read it straight through (started it last night, finished it this morning), the writing style was pleasant and I did care about the characters ... just not THAT much.
The premise is good but the world building seemed pretty skimpy. Same with all the "mysteries" which weren't mysterious anymore by the time they were revealed. I can, however, chalk those two things up to the fact that this is straight up YA (and YA for the younger-end, in my opinion; i'd say 5th and 6th grders) so maybe a less life-experienced reader of that age would do less figurin'!
Ends on a giant cliffhanger but, even so, I'm not compelled enough to read the next book unless I also find *it* for $2 bucks. Although, hey, I just went to check if it was lendable on lendle.me and it says "you own it!" under book status. So maybe I DO have all these on the kindle. In that case, I will read the next one when I have some time to kill but I'm not in a rush to read it next.
I'd recommend it for a quick read for anyone who generally reads YA dystopian stuff and for the 5th-6th grade set.
Also this spoiler: (view spoiler)[have some tissues. ain't nothing sadder than when a talking dog dies! (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Is this book really as bad I as I think it is? I need more friends to read this, to reassure me that it really(EDITED: Updated star-status at the end)
Is this book really as bad I as I think it is? I need more friends to read this, to reassure me that it really is awful and it's not just that I'm sick (which I am. I mean, with bronchitis.) So do it! Read this! And tell me it is bad!! ("Ew, this is awful! taste it!")
Anyway, i'd say 2 stars just because i feel guilty giving only 1 star and I *did* finish it. So, 1.5 stars. Because you know something is wrong when "It Was Okay" sounds way too generous...
Where to start?
Could there be a more unlikeable main character? I know I'm not the target audience, age-wise, but geeze, as a female, I'd at least like to like her as a fellow female, even if a young one. And I don't. She's the exact sort of insipid, unintelligent, first-this-man-now-this-one type of female character I don't like. So, there's that straight off the bat. (Shay is a way better character.)
And then there is just the whole story telling, which is ridiculous for the most part. I mean, there is this whole section where Tally is with a primitive tribe (no! she really is! I can't even get into the whole 'what is this i don't even...' of that part as a whole) and she notices the women are making a fire for cooking (the men having just been out warrioring about, as it were) and she thinks -- snidely, I might add -- "oh yeah, i remember in Olden Times women used to get the crappy jobs". What? Leaving aside the fact that all of a sudden Tally seems to know/remember a lot of things, despite the fact that she was pretty clueless about ancient history in the first book (and this is a big thing to "leave aside" because it annoyed the f*** out of me), why on earth would she automatically assume cooking was a crappy job? I mean, she's never cooked. She lives in a society where food comes fully prepared to you pretty much technomagically and it has been this way for hundreds of years. Aside for that extremely brief period out in the wild where *someone* made stew (and I don't think it was Tally and I'm pretty sure it was likely communally done male/female equally), Tally knows jack shit about cooking. Certainly a person like that would never make an assumption that cooking = crappy job so OH NOEZ SEXIST PIGS (another concept that would be entirely alien to her in practice). And she's snide about the issue more than once.
It seems to me that, if anything, given her recent experience Outside the only and/or first thing she would have thought was "oh! hey! I wonder how THEY go about setting up their fire pit/spits/outdoor kitchens/etc" in the spirit of this-is-new-and-interesting-to-observe and not this weird misplaced snide feminism for pet's sake.
Alright, I'm probably belaboring what seems like a minor point but my point is the book is pretty much entirely full of little points like that. It's awful.
And then it all wraps up neatly (not without fanning the flame of LOVE TRIANGLE in the last few pages though! couldn't skip that bit!) and once again Tally (view spoiler)[is captured but instead of all these trouble makers being just done away with -- I mean it hardly seems like a government that goes through all this other trouble with society would balk at that -- now she's going to be SPECIAL (hide spoiler)]. Egad.
My heart wants to give this book one star but my head (sick as it is with bronchitis germs) is going to give it two, for the few bits I liked (Shay and Zane and some of the other characters) and for the fact that I actually did finish it.
But I will not be reading the third.
****UDPATE: I am going to have to downgrade this to 1-star. I still stand by that it is 1.5 stars but when I was putting it in the appropriate goodreads "shelf", I felt rotten for some other books that were in the 2-star category, that they should be considered the same level as this. For example, the poor ol' Time Baroness. The Time Baroness, for example, is nowhere NEAR as bad as this thing. So, i'm downgrading to 1-star for sake of categorizing but my actual ranking still stands at 1.5.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Eh. I would give this book 2.5 stars if I could, really, because my feelings were more in between It Was Okay and I Liked It. But, I maybe should haveEh. I would give this book 2.5 stars if I could, really, because my feelings were more in between It Was Okay and I Liked It. But, I maybe should have reviewed it right away when I finished it because I made the mistake of starting the next book (which is maybe less indication of Really Liking as it is indication of surfeit of free time at the moment - I'm stuck in bed with something bronchial) and I was only about 10% through the book before I was pretty much over it already. I mean, even stuck in bed with something bronchial, I was enough done with the second book of this series that I tossed it down and went and did the dishes instead! So, I'm afraid maybe that is coloring my view of the first book since now I sort of regret the waste of reading time.
But, the writing is fine in this book and that is frequently the first hurdle in YA fiction, for me. I didn't have any problems with the writing style. And I actually quite *liked* the style, as it applied to this book, because I did have a clear sense that the thoughts and things being projected *were* the thoughts of this age group. There was a good match between characters and style and I appreciate that when I am reading. (This was really brought to my attention for the first time when I read Stray, which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately the similarities to the goodness that is Stray end with the writing style not annoying me.)
I also liked the premise of the book. I found it quite interesting. I was quite willing and happy to sink right into the world building and the premise and see where it took me. And then it took me Outside.
I think my view of where the book went down hill is already covered in Sparrow's Review -- and the whole review is worth a read - when she says:
Luckily, said ugly teens (particularly our protagonist, Tally, through her bff, Shay) discover that if they flee to the wilderness, they will be able to live a life of freedom and romance. Oh, what's that? Did I say "romance"? Thanks again Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, et al. Sometimes when characters go out into the wilderness . . . I don't even know. Does the phrase "it's been done" even begin to cover my feelings on that topic? Thus begins the cat-fight between Tally and Shay that is the uniting thread of this entire series. You see, there is a wilderness boy (imagine my surprise), who is quite a catch even though he's "ugly", and there's some jealousy and betrayal and kick-ass hoverboarding. You get the idea.
It was at this point in the book when I had to remind myself "you are not the target audience. you are not the target audience." So, bit of a crash and burn, mood-killer there. I would have quite happily kept reading about Tally venturing on following clues for far more of the book. That was the best part! (BIAS ALERT! I just re-read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon as a comfort book so girl-alone-in-the-wilderness-trekking = WIN!) Once the reach "outside" everything speeds up with the rapidness common to YA fiction and everyone is in love and secrets revealed and all of that after about 2 days of knowing someone. You'd think cautious people would be cautious, but no!
The plot is forwarded due to DRAMA (it really is, had Tally acted like a rational intelligent person instead of FULL OF DRAMA there'd be no more story. Or, at least, not this story. don't want to spoiler you.) and that always sort of annoys me (see: "not the target audience") and then there is an almost entirely improbable Giant Escape and then ... cliffhanger ending!
If I would have read this book years ago, I might have liked it more. It's definitely not even close to being some of the best YA dystopian stuff out there, but it's certainly not the worst (although the second book looks like it is shaping up to be!). I'd recommend this if only if you are jonesing for some YA dystopian stuff AND you aren't paying 10 bucks for it... ...more
It is hard for me to separate this book from the act of reading it aloud to my own 12 year old (who is studying it this grading period in his 6th gradIt is hard for me to separate this book from the act of reading it aloud to my own 12 year old (who is studying it this grading period in his 6th grade literature class). For his sake, I'd probably give it five stars because I think it is a simply written and well-handled book and it is one of the few dystopian books for the 12 and under set. I can't give it five stars for my own sake because it *is* a bit simply written.
You can read more extensive reviews and tearings-apart-the-plot-and-message in the other reviews on this site but I would recommend this book to anyone looking for something a little more intellectual to read to their 10-12 year old. If you DON'T have a child, I would still recommend this book if you are a fan of YA/children's literature and dystopian stuff because it is a good light read....more
I didn't find this one as good as the first book. In fact, although I did like it, it did not leave me interested enough in reading the third book inI didn't find this one as good as the first book. In fact, although I did like it, it did not leave me interested enough in reading the third book in the series for full price!...more
This is a pure and simple little novella and I loved it. Now, I am a big hemmingway fan and a particular fan of The Old Man and the Sea so that biasesThis is a pure and simple little novella and I loved it. Now, I am a big hemmingway fan and a particular fan of The Old Man and the Sea so that biases me big time toward the book. I've tried to think of how it would read to someone not familiar with that book and I can't tell if it would come across or not. However, while being a total different subject matter, the author manages to carry much of the same simpleness of story as Hemingway did. And "simpleness of story" may sound like an insult but it's not -- the book is grim and gritty, it's post-apocalyptic, after all -- but it's told so simply that it all rings true and sort of beautiful.
I can see where the style and the pacing may not be for everyone, though and I imagine this book falls into the 'love it or hate it' category depending on whether or not it is 'your thing'. But, as a fan of both dystopian fiction AND the old man and the sea, this little book was a complete treat for me....more
As far as the whining-16-year-old-girl-confused-and-in-a-love-triangle-while-scratching-a-living-out-of-the-dirt-while-mutants/zombies/monsters-threatAs far as the whining-16-year-old-girl-confused-and-in-a-love-triangle-while-scratching-a-living-out-of-the-dirt-while-mutants/zombies/monsters-threaten books go, this one was considerably better than some of the others I have read (i.e. divergent, enclave). However, I think I gave THOSE four stars and as I am not willing to give *this* FIVE stars, I'll have to go back and give those three. (Yes, I need to get a better handle on my starring system but I hate giving something only two stars and that skews everything upward; I have to try to be more literal about the "it was okay", "liked it" "really liked it"...) (ETA - Nevermind, looking back it seems as if I did appropriately tag the others with only three stars)
At any rate, what pushed this book above the others - for me - is that the writing seems much more mature. Sure it was teen girl thoughts but it didn't seem as if it was particularly *written* for a teen girl; the language and style were such that I associate more with adult books than YA books - I think it hit a mid-ground between those two and I liked that. The other big plus is that this is one grimly realistic book and it helps that the main character is pretty much batshit crazy, if batshit crazy is defined by an inability to prioritize desires and act accordingly. Her hierarchy of needs is hella messed up and you can distinctly watch that contribute to the disintegration of things.
Now, that said, I can recognize that this book is not for everyone. If you need your female 'heros' to BE heros, to stand somehow golden and removed from the dystopian environment that theoretically shaped them, then you won't like this book. And if you need a happy ending, this one is also not for you.
I feel like I should put in the usual complaints about the angsty angsterness that goes on, sometimes tediously, but when you pick up the book you should know that it is YA and so there you go. And even as far as that goes, this book isn't nearly as bad as some others (have I reviewed the Celestra series yet? Oh lordy.)...more
I chose this one because of how much I enjoyed Before I Fall. I think this has been the best of the recent YA dystopian stuff I have been reading butI chose this one because of how much I enjoyed Before I Fall. I think this has been the best of the recent YA dystopian stuff I have been reading but it also seems to move too fast. One minute the main character is a "normal" girl, the next minute she's a crazy risk taking rebel. The story was good, though, and the premise (treating Love as a disease and creating a society that is based on being "cured" of it) great, if you look past the flaws. I recommend this to anyone who has an interest in YA dystopian future stuff....more
Bought this one at full kindle price -- something I haven't done in months! -- on the recommendation of Canoeu.
Well, finished it. And I must say I burBought this one at full kindle price -- something I haven't done in months! -- on the recommendation of Canoeu.
Well, finished it. And I must say I burned right through it for a couple of reasons. One, because I mistakenly thought the trilogy was finished so I wanted time to read them all before we get back into "on the road" mode and traveling every day or two, something that will happen this weekend. Two, because I found the writing ... simple? easy? young? I'm not sure what. I liked the story but I never felt that there was any meat or *weight* to the writing and so the story felt much lighter to me than it is probably intended to feel, given the subject matter. For a needs-to-be-easy-because-I'm-on-a-9500-mile-road-trip book, it did its job!