I would've thought that such a buzzy book, about a cult no less, would have plot and characterization and a point. It has none of these. I can't evenI would've thought that such a buzzy book, about a cult no less, would have plot and characterization and a point. It has none of these. I can't even give it points for the concept either, given what it's based on. ...more
Hmm I was expecting something a bit too ambitious in scope given how this is supposed to be a Literary Event. But it’s...small, very low-stakes. And nHmm I was expecting something a bit too ambitious in scope given how this is supposed to be a Literary Event. But it’s...small, very low-stakes. And not that interesting.
A guy gets in a car accident and loses the nest egg he and his siblings have been counting on for years. So they scramble around the mess while blundering about in their blah, selfish lives.
While I didn’t care too much for All the Light We Cannot See or The Goldfinch, I could see how their overall premises could be bestseller bait. And parts of them merited the outsized popularity. This is just a dime a dozen family drama.
At least one plus for those with a short attention span - it sorta reads like 6 connected short stories about the various people involved and keeps flitting back and forth among them. So it’s easy to put down and pick back up for those pledged to finish.
Best things I can say about the book: queer characters (as thinly written as the rest), pretty cover....more
Reads like a Sarah Dessen book, but one of her more average ones. And with more pages than necessary.
Actually reminds me a lot of This Lullaby specifiReads like a Sarah Dessen book, but one of her more average ones. And with more pages than necessary.
Actually reminds me a lot of This Lullaby specifically - a super type-A who doesn't do real relationships starts dating an...artist of sorts...who doesn't treat her the way any of her other boys have. During the summer she falls for real for the first time, while her forever-BFF-group have problems of their own. And she comes to terms with her relationship with her parents; one's passed away and the other one has kinda messed up some of her ideas about life despite being well-meaning. There's even a lovable dog the guy has when (iirc) the main female doesn't really do pets.
I like the main character enough, though she seems to accept her change in plans that were supposed to Help Out Her Whole Life oddly gracefully. I mean, I suppose love or whatever softens her, but it kinda feels like she loses some personality traits in the process. Her losing her suspicious, careful nature also makes sense in its way but it also seems too easily dropped. The love interest is...okay. He's cute and makes her open up to him. Doesn't really seem that much like Love to me, but fine. The friend stuff feels petty and unnecessary, unless it's meant to open up a sequel even though I don't like the friends involved in the drama so wouldn't be enthused to read about them.
Connecting with her father again is the best part of the book; it feels very realistic, and the scene where they have a fight is the most genuinely emotional one. I didn't really buy the details of her father's scandal, but it's just an excuse to bring the two of them back together so I'll allow it. From that scene: (view spoiler)[“I haven’t had a father in five years. So you can’t just show up now and start acting like one. I have done nothing but make sure I didn’t do anything to make you look bad. My whole life. I’ve been tiptoeing around, always thinking about how anything I do might affect you. And then you mess it all up. Do you know why I’m not in Baltimore? Dr. Rizzoli pulled my recommendation. Because of you. Do you know how much that wrecked things for me? And it’s like you don’t even care. It’s not just this summer. You moved me to this house without even telling me you were going to. I never got to say good-bye to the farmhouse. There’s none of Mom’s stuff around, we never talk about her or say what we miss—it’s like you want to pretend she was never here at all. It’s like she never even existed. And you said—you said in your book that we were. But it’s not like that anymore. It’s not, and I don’t know why. I don’t know . . . what I did.” (hide spoiler)]
Since You've Been Gone is better, perhaps because it focuses more on a female friendship and I find that romances are more hit-or-miss in the genre. Which could explain why Amy and Roger is also a 2-star read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I was pretty sure this wouldn’t be a good book, but I picked it up anyway after seeing how popular it is on Goodreads so quickly. At least I read a feI was pretty sure this wouldn’t be a good book, but I picked it up anyway after seeing how popular it is on Goodreads so quickly. At least I read a few reviews beforehand to know that a fantasy this book is not, and the illogical nature of the book’s premise - escaping a fate of being sold off like a horse to the first bidder into a fate of being sold off like a horse to the highest bidder.
While I acknowledge it’s a bit different to cover the same timeline from a different POV in each book of a trilogy, the execution is dubious. The three main girls do not share much information with each other and are constantly mysteriously disappearing off somewhere without explanation, so that the reader will have to read the sequels to get said explanations. Oh, and sometimes one girl will say something but it’s vaguely summarized instead of quoted, like “she told me what I wanted to know.” The lack of backstories and knowledge of their fates are bad enough, but Tamsin and Mira arguably could be lifted out of most of the places they do appear without substantially changing the story. They’re less “best friend” characters than they are excuses for sequels.
Oh, the actual content of the book. Romance is predictable, characters are forgettable yet annoying, plot sometimes exists. I suppose it’s more readable than The Selection. ...more
The book brings to mind the plot of The Night Circus with the setting of A Thousand Pieces of You. In fact, I had to put this book down for a bit to rThe book brings to mind the plot of The Night Circus with the setting of A Thousand Pieces of You. In fact, I had to put this book down for a bit to reread some of the Imperial Russia chapters of Thousand Pieces; oh how I hope the second sequel spends way, way more time there than the first sequel.
I don’t see myself reading a sequel to this book though. It’s not very original or exciting. The magic isn’t that cool, and the central romance is unconvincing, not helped by the shallow characterization of the leads. Still they’re better than the poor little rich boy who, if whining doesn’t get his will done, resorts to being a total ass. They have the main three POVs and his is definitely the worst.
But there’s also an over-the-top and out-of-place zombie who narrates here and there; she at least brings some energy to the narrative - energy from a completely different genre, but whatever. She’s my fave, followed by the sweet Renata and the ruthless Galina. Alas, their combined pagetime is not large and they never go beyond feeling like props for the main characters’ stories.
Mmm, and the plot is pretty obvious, with both OmgTwists conforming closely to tropes....more
Sometimes I bump up a book a star just because of the gay content. But the author isn’t a gay male, and the main character is not a gay male, so I’m nSometimes I bump up a book a star just because of the gay content. But the author isn’t a gay male, and the main character is not a gay male, so I’m not giving it that benefit. Sometimes a perspective outside of the queer character actually works for a book, but certainly this book has many other factors going against it.
This feels like the work of a well-meaning lady who read a few ya novels about gayness and suicide, which gave her zero insight or understanding about being queer. It’s certainly not like the only people who can write good queer works are queer themselves.
After just a few chapters I could tell that the writing and characterization would be on the mediocre side throughout. I stuck it out because it’s on top of Goodreads’ 2016-queer-best-list right now, for reasons as unfathomable as most of the characters’ motivations.
The tone is all over the place, and very first-time-novelist. Some times I couldn’t tell what I was supposed to be feeling, and others I knew but was nowhere near. One particular nitpick is that the technological and cultural references are very weird in their relevancy timespans; Myspace, Instagram, AIM, and The New Normal co-exist happily apparently.
Both of the main characters are huge idiots. We can’t really tell this about Robbie till late in the book, but oh boy does the stupid come on strong and fast. Luckily we get a magical deus ex machina that doesn’t make sense, leading us to an absurd climax.
Positives: Representation of a queer athlete. Interracial romance. Um...it’s the thought that counts....more