I started reading the book this morning, and was done with it in less than four hours. I'm a college student with a busy schedule, but I didn't want t...moreI started reading the book this morning, and was done with it in less than four hours. I'm a college student with a busy schedule, but I didn't want to put the book down.
Now, the book is not without flaws (no creative work, written or otherwise, is), and I will outline what I felt could have used a little more polish, but in my opinion, it wasn't enough to detract from the story line, or from the rating. As a reader, I try my best to ignore the writer inside, and the reader in me enjoyed the book for what it was, and that's what the reader feels matters when it comes to the star rating.
What I enjoyed the most were the characters. They felt, for the most part, real, which is more than can be said for a lot of characters in other novels in this genre. Their personalities had weight to them, and most of them were unique and had their own flavor.
What I felt needed work, or could have been changed a little, was the way the poetry was handled. Considering the author was technically the one who wrote all the poetry, I found it a bit hard to take when most of the characters in the novel praised it.. :P
I felt that the reason Will was in foster care could have been different. Yes, car wrecks do happen, and that's terrible, but in YA novels they almost all happen in the same way and at the same age, and author's should be more original about it when going for a tragic history kind of thing, I think.
I didn't find the killer unbelievable, but I felt like there should have been a bit more build up to it. Things just sort of fell into place toward the end, and I found myself flipping back about a hundred or so pages to reread a section that was relevant to Will's death to see if it even added up.
See, readers know from the get go that Will is going to be murdered, so when the time pops up where it's going to happen, it's pretty obvious to the reader, and because of that, I feel like more care should have been given to that particular scene regarding how much time had passed. Later in the novel police conjecture that the killer would have spent quite a bit of time with the body, but looking back at the relevant scene, it doesn't seem like quite that much time had passed after all.
Also, I would have liked it if Will weren't connected to all the other kids who had been killed. I would have preferred it actually if it had come as more of a surprise in general. I think I just wish it hadn't been a journey of "okay, when is it going to happen" and had been more of a surprise or a shock.
It did bring tears to my eyes though, which I feel is a job well done on the author's part. (less)
May be some minor spoilers. I dont want to hide this though...
Last night after finishing the book I left it with 5 stars. After dreaming about one of...moreMay be some minor spoilers. I dont want to hide this though...
Last night after finishing the book I left it with 5 stars. After dreaming about one of the characters last night, I have to lower it to 4.
If I were to divide the novel into two stories and rate them independently, I'd give straight WG a 3 and gay WG a 5.
It's not that the 3's story was bad, per say, but everything works out for him in the end. He has a good life, he finds love, and little happens between him and his best friend.
From the very start the 5 had it rough, told by the apathetic attention to capitalization, an apparent dependence on drugs, and a rough home life. His was the much more engaging story, and his was the reason I kept turning the pages, to get to his next part.
There was a lot of little ends not fully explained though, like what was the deal with his father, was he really struggling that much with the pills, what his "friend" pulled on him (which was loathesome) why did his BF come over later, declare love to him at the school, and promptly dump him later and then proceed to ignore him?
This, I think, is why so many people say that Tiny is self centered and arrogant. I kind of have to agree. I liked him enough when he was being sweet, but as a woman who has always been obese, I didn't really buy the fears and worries about what people say about his weight, nor did I appreciate the obviously ironic naming of the character. At times I felt like besides being a campy gay stereotype, being fat was the only defining trait of this character.
Overall, I think if the authors had focused a bit less on Tiny's "problems" and a lot more at resolving gay WG's, I could have kept with a full five stars. I think that though the ending there worked, it should have been flipped to the poor gay WG, because in the end he was left with nothing and feeling invalidated and he was still the one to end up making Tiny feel like a special little butterfly.(less)
I'm a little torn on this one. For what it is, I really did enjoy the book; most of the characters were portrayed well, I loved the idea of sitting on...moreI'm a little torn on this one. For what it is, I really did enjoy the book; most of the characters were portrayed well, I loved the idea of sitting on the toilet to think over heavy stuff (though it was a bit overused), and the secret friend at the soccer games was an interesting subplot. However, I found the soccer practice scenes and game talk a little drawn out. I know nothing about soccer so sometimes I felt a bit lost. I'm also not overly thrilled about The bisexual male friend Sam makes in the story. I feel like the author played into a stereotype here, and the way the character very quickly falls for a gorgeous girl without any thought for his friend didn't sit well with me. I did like though how many characters come to fight against their own prejudices. Overall, it's a decent read. It's definitely clever. Though you may want urbandictionary handy--there's a lot of British/English slang in there I only knew by nature of having a British friend!(less)