- a protagonist I didn't want to punch! - a romantic lead I didn't want to set alight!
(view spoiler)[- The world is still as unclear and vaguely convoluted as Birthmarked; so far Caragh M OBrien hasn't quite mastered world building for the reader.
- The seeding and mining was a little underwhelming. I was hoping for a nice OMFG-horror struck moment, and it was underwhelming.
I liked Rosie, though the ending was rather predictable in hindsight, I will stick around for the next book. (hide spoiler)]
Still not entirely sure whether I liked it enough for three stars or if it was such a relief after Birthmarked that I've offered up a little too much love. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
There was nothing essentially wrong with this book, it just didn't do much for me. It felt like way too much was happening without really going in-dep...moreThere was nothing essentially wrong with this book, it just didn't do much for me. It felt like way too much was happening without really going in-depth on any of them. Alone, so many of the different strands could have been amazing, but in the end it just felt rushed. I do think it's an important story, and I think that it would probably be a good read for younger teens, because it does teach a valuable lesson. (less)
This book was based on some good ideas but doesn't hit the mark. - The characters fell flat; the entire book felt like a skim read. We never really go...moreThis book was based on some good ideas but doesn't hit the mark. - The characters fell flat; the entire book felt like a skim read. We never really go to know the characters properly, making them feel two dimensional. - I don't think the dual POV worked. I think just Hannah's or third person pov would have made the story stronger. - I felt like the issues with the baby's father were never worked out (view spoiler)[ Poor Hannah. She would have barely been fifteen when her eighteen year old step brother had sex with her and then ditched her. I think some counselling is definitely in order. Because she was a kid - he was older. I'm not sure what the age of consent age is in the UK but it IS older than 15, and Jay should have been held responsible. (hide spoiler)]
The narrative felt like a book for younger readers, but the language and issues raised were for an older audience.
Wow. That book was long and dull. Bland, flat characters, a predictable plot and the required unconvincing romance.
I was so hoping this was going to...moreWow. That book was long and dull. Bland, flat characters, a predictable plot and the required unconvincing romance.
I was so hoping this was going to become a murder mystery rather than paranormal romance. It's very much like The Magnolia League: teenage girls in Louisiana messing with magic they shouldn't whilst they walk around looking like supermodels; they both even have magic necklaces and dead mothers. The ending feels rushed without being interesting and I'm still not sure why I even bothered to finish it. (less)
I was provided with a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review
I’ll be honest right off the bat. Self-published novels make me nervo...moreI was provided with a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review
I’ll be honest right off the bat. Self-published novels make me nervous, since the editing process is at the author’s discretion, and quality varies wildly between ‘unreadable’ and ‘mythical in its brilliance.’
True, I’ve discovered some gems, but ultimately, they are a dangerous beast to be treated with caution until proved otherwise. Better safe than heart-broken or enraged, right?
Luckily, on the scale of self-published novels, Cara Rosalie Olsen’s Awakening Foster Kelly is a fairly solid effort. (view spoiler)[ A contemporary romance with a twist, Awakening Foster Kelly boasts a cast of very unique and quirky characters. I could try to liken it to another YA romance I’ve read, but I honestly cannot think of anything that comes close.
Foster, as a character, reminds me of the titular character of Odilly, but a more refined version. I really wanted to love Foster, but at times I found her hard to empathise with - the twist at the end justifies it to an extent, but it still makes her a hard character to connect with. A loner with an incredible singing talent, super intelligent, clumsy, unusual but gorgeous hair, reads classical books, comes from a wealthy family with parents who give her whatever she wants, great relationship with her parents, and a passionate dedication to the children at the HOH - plus she’s pathologically awkward and nervous. Obviously, this story is about Foster accepting herself as she is, and this is a very idealised version of her reality, her flaws were meant to be likeable. Clumsiness is definitely an overused trope for the ‘average girl’ in this genre, and Foster takes it to the extremes. Her compassion is refreshing, though her unwavering devotion to the HOH is rather intense. But I do love an unreliable narrator, and in the end, that is what Foster is.
Jake and Emily were great characters - at their introduction, I was so worried we were being introduced to the ‘mean girl’ and the ‘love interest’; it was a pleasant surprise. Olsen totally nailed the twins; Emily took the best-friend trope and made it her own - by the end of it, I wanted to be friends with Em. Jake was a great foil to Emily’s intensity, and their exchanges felt very natural between siblings. I almost want a book exploring Foster’s early days of fumbling through friendship with such a strong personality as Emily. Maddie, too, was written well - a satellite in Foster’s life with a very small role to play - but it felt very realistic to how teen relationships work.
Foster’s parents fall into the new YA trend of ‘cool’ parents - parents who treat their children like miniature adults, and get along great - and the ‘quirky’ intellectual trope, which was a little grating.
And Dominic. Oh man. The twist at the end of the story threw all my opinions about Dominic up in the air - I looked at him very negatively because of how he pushed and manipulated Foster continuously, but when you realise that this was all in Foster’s mind, then you have to wonder whether Foster was using Dominic as a way to become her true self (and then there are the Unfortunate Implications that since Dominic was dreaming with Foster, was he in control of his own actions, and therefore was, in fact, a bit too aggressive in getting Foster to put herself out there?)
I felt that Foster and Dominic’s romance become very intense very quickly, especially for how shy Foster is portrayed. I also genuinely wonder whether their romance would have had a stronger impact if it had come about much later in the story, if we had had a chance to invest in the relationship before it happened on the page.
The twist - that Foster has been in a coma and that this is all happening in her head - is one that has been done a lot of times, especially in the YA genre, but actually fits here. I admit, I would have been all for a plotline that had Dominic trying to replace Summer with Foster, Summer having survived, and Dominic leaving Foster in the end, and Foster having to deal with the fallout because I like to be surprised. Considering that Foster has created this better version of herself for Dominic, I think the impact of this scenario is one that takes some time to really sink in. In that, I think Olsen has managed to capture the insecurity of the teenage years.
The scenes where Foster uses what she learnt in her dreams - with Bevenny, and then Dominic and hers shared dreaming - I think needed more foundations in the earlier part of the story. Perhaps an interest in ESP, dreaming, even an opening monologue from Foster to just give us a clue that there was more at play here than what you were seeing.
The two things I did have a problem with in this book were the exposition and metaphors - the prologue definitely suffered from an overdose of both of these. I am very much a reader who would rather fill in the blanks left by too little information than have every detail handed to me; and overly long descriptions tend to take away one of my favourite parts of reading - seeing the story in my head, as I picture them. The amount of exposition made this book more difficult to read, and some of the metaphors were jarring enough to take me out of the story entirely. That was the area that I think a traditional publishing model would have helped - an editor focused on pushing the story to its best possible self and cutting away the excess would have taken it to the next level.
Honestly, the lapsed screenwriter in me looks at Awakening Foster Kelly and sees the potential for a solid film script - especially in the wake of the If I Stay trailer. And I believe that with a small amount of refining, that the characters and overall ideas that drive this story could really shine on the screen. (hide spoiler)]
Ultimately, for a self-publication, Awakening Foster Kelly is a good first offering with a few issues that I think come from this being Olsen’s first work. Awakening Foster Kelly doesn’t quite hit all the marks, but Cara Rosalie Olsen is definitely someone I’ll be watching out for in the future.["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"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This was so anaemic, and I suffered a near-constant case of second-hand embarrassment for all the characters. The characters themselves were flat and...moreThis was so anaemic, and I suffered a near-constant case of second-hand embarrassment for all the characters. The characters themselves were flat and two dimensional. The plot was linear and predictable.
My kingdom for a contemporary romance with interesting, dynamic characters, and an actual plot. (less)
There's a lot to say about this book. - I love the cover. The hanged moose? Perfection. - The title is... bizarre. Honestly, it sounds like a bad stalke...moreThere's a lot to say about this book. - I love the cover. The hanged moose? Perfection. - The title is... bizarre. Honestly, it sounds like a bad stalker story. - I love Kippy. Kippy is awesome and strange and smart and sassy, and I would totally read an entire series about her. She's totally awkward but she wears it. I want to be her friend.
I enjoyed reading it, even if certain twists came out of nowhere. Kind of wish Kippy's support group had played a larger and earlier role, because they too were awesome. I'd recommend this alone because the protagonist's voice is so unique(less)