I knew from the start that you were going to be a difficult one to review. You aren't my typical book, but youDear Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,
I knew from the start that you were going to be a difficult one to review. You aren't my typical book, but you were getting a lot of buzz in the YA book community, and I figured I should read you. To see what it was all about. I'm glad I did, Simon - you were quick and interesting. But, the bottom line is, you're just not for me.
Poor Simon Spier is having one heck of a junior year. He's gay, but he hasn't exactly told anyone yet - not even his family or his best friends. The only person who knows is Blue, another teenage boy he's been emailing, and someone who goes to his high school. But Simon doesn't know Blue's reason identity, and Blue doesn't know Simon's; they want to keep it that way. However, it all changes when school clown Martin gets ahold of the emails and threatens to publish them on the high school's Tumblr page if Simon doesn't play wingman for Martin with a new girl at school. Simon isn't ready for the world to know his secret yet - and he's terrified of losing Blue, who is probably the best thing that has ever happened to him.
While you weren't my type of book, Simon, I could recognize the appeal you would have for an audience who would appreciate you. Your writing was very simplistic, but it painted a very clear picture of Simon's personality. I really enjoyed his unique narration voice. All of your characters were very believable, fully realized personalities and there was a lot of heart and warmth filling the entire story. Because you were such a hyped book, I really expected you to be preachy and over the top about everything. So I was surprised to find that for the most part, you weren't.
Nevertheless, I was faced with the predicament of reading a book that will most definitely have high appeal for its intended audience, but just didn't hit much of a chord with me. How does one rate such a book? I can only hope people read this review to understand my reason behind the rating. Coming from personal enjoyment, you didn't do much for me. But for people who do like stories like this, it is most definitely a five-strawberry read. It's funny and heartfelt and totally fleshed out.
Dear Immortal Beloved, I had my doubts from the very beginning. You are not the sort of book I usually grab. Party girl immortal, rehab center, undeniaDear Immortal Beloved, I had my doubts from the very beginning. You are not the sort of book I usually grab. Party girl immortal, rehab center, undeniably sexy dude - these are all warning signs for me. But I had to read you for several reasons. So I set aside my doubts and went into you with an open mind. I bet you fifty bucks to guess what my response was.
Nastasya is a 600+ years old immortal. She's experienced every horror life has to offer. Her family was murdered in front of her very eyes, she's been forced into marriages, watched her children die, suffered through famines and plague and wars. Somehow, though, instead of turning her into a callous, tortured soul who has seen humanity's cruelty, Nastasya has stayed a spoiled, angsty, self-absorbed teen. Who is also inexplicably, but conveniently, independently wealthy. She's buried her pain in drugs, bad fashion choices, drinking, snogging, and hanging out with a bunch of equally-immature, eons-old immortal teens. But then, everything changes, when her buddy Innocencio (don't laugh; that's actually his name) decides to take things a little too far and uses "dark magic" to snap a poor mortal's spine just for fun. Nasty (yes, that's what people call her for short) finds this disturbing behavior so out of character with creepy Innocencio that she packs her bags and heads to a rehab for immortals in the middle of nowhere. Once there, she spends the rest of the 300+ pages. . . .doing household chores. And throwing tantrums and crying because she doesn't fit in with the good, natural path immortals at this crazy ranch. And oggling super duper sexy Reyn. Oh, and there's a "weird scar" on her neck she doesn't want anyone to see. But that would be too interesting to explore. Nah, let's talk about floor scrubbing techniques. That's much more interesting.
You suffer from three major crimes: being boring, a punchable protagonist, and too many shirtless men - including men who are not actually shirtless, but somehow still manage to be. I can appreciate a sarcastic protagonist, but there's a fine line between a sarcastic female and a complaining bitch. Nasty landed in the latter category. I wanted to sympathize with her - I really did; it would suck to live for so long and suffer so much. But she was so teen and had so many freaking meltdowns that I finally just wanted someone to ram her head into a door. Just put her out of her misery, please. It will do the entire world a great service. I can't even really tell you what I thought of the other characters, except Reyn. Ohhhhh, broody, godlike, sexy Reyn. The world's most shirtless man, right next to Matthew McConaughey.
Reyn is a very typical "hot hunk." Temperamental, moody, broody, violent, and too hot for his own trousers. And in case there's any doubt in the Reader's mind, Nasty makes it clear every time he steps into a room just how handsome a hunk of man flesh Reyn is. Yes, their romance is totally and completely carnal. Nasty even fantasizes about what it'd be like if he slammed her against a wall and kissed her until she was bruised. Mmmm, sounds just sooooooo romantic, now doesn't it? Who wants a gentle, good man? Give me a woman beater any day! Reyn's personality follows his shirt: it isn't there.
Your plot, Immortal Beloved, literally consists of Nasty's tantrums, lusting after Reyn, and household chores. Occasionally the monotony is broken up with flashbacks to Nasty's past, but these flashbacks do nothing more than make the Reader weep when we are forced to return to the present narration - and also break up the natural flow of writing. There's some hinting at Nasty's scar; what it means, how she acquired it, why Innocencio maybe liked having her around so much. But mostly? We get to read about Nasty complaining about scrubbing floors, doing laundry, baking bread, currying horses, planting kale, suffering from dizzy spells after a bit of magic practice, and oggling Reyn some more. If I want to read a book about chores, I will pick up Little House on the Prairie - a much, much, much more fascinating read.
Right when the plot starts to show a tiny bit of promise, in the form of an assassination attempt on Nasty's life, it boils back down into a bitch fight. See, Nasty isn't the only one who notices Reyn's blinding hotness. There's another immortal: Nell. Nell has a thing for Reyn and she sure as hell isn't going to let little petite Nasty encroach on her man flesh. Suddenly Nasty is facing down little jealous rages, snide remarks, and little annoying things that make her chores just a bit more difficult. And no one suspects Nell might be behind the ill magic directed at Nasty. No, not at all, because no one else would want to harm charming Nasty, would they?
Oh, sorry; was that a spoiler?? NO! Because it was so flipping obvious!!!! Let me be perfectly clear about my feelings towards you, Immortal Beloved: I wanted to claw my eyes out by page 8. You begin so abruptly that the Reader has no time to appreciate the "sudden" change in Innocencio's behavior. Suddenly we're whisked off to the rehab center, where you boil down to 300+ pages of chores, self discovery, tantrums, and one of the world's shallowest romantic interests - complete with a jealous bitch. There's some hinting at magic and mysterious destinies and ancient houses and all that jazz - but it's hardly explored. When there seems to be promise of a villain, it becomes painfully obvious that no, it's just more bitch fighting, and your climax seriously boils down to a jealous rage over man flesh taken way too far. Your characters were either aggravating or flat at best. It was like pushing through a sandbox while wearing lead shoes, finishing your final 100 pages. I couldn't throw you across the room fast enough when I finally got to the end.