One of the main recommendations for the book Unworthy (which was sent to me by its author in exchange for my Goodreads review) was the fact that I fouOne of the main recommendations for the book Unworthy (which was sent to me by its author in exchange for my Goodreads review) was the fact that I found its female protagonist so compelling. Not in the sense of liking her, necessarily (though she was likeable enough). Rather, I was impressed by the representation of a young woman who was strong and compassionate and ignorant and full of doubt...and who was a hero because of rather than in spite of all of these things.
I’d like you to go into reading this book with an open mind. So, without any spoilers, I’ll try to give a little more detail as to why I liked this book.
To begin with, Unworthy was an excellent example of how women can be portrayed in modern fiction.
Not only was there a female protagonist (a young woman named Arcadia), but there were female antagonists (whose names I won’t divulge). And none of these characters were purely virtuous or purely good for the sake of it (*cough* Tolkien *cough*). Nor were the females in Unworthy stereotypical emotional caretakers. They were well-developed, realistic, people.
There were also male characters, of course. With similarly complex emotions and motives. It’s pretty rare to read a Young Adult book without romance, because so much of the hormonally-charged life of young people (and, to be honest, the less-hormonally-charged lives of not-so-young-people) revolves around romance. So I was unsurprised to read of marriage proposals and hand-holding, of affection between people whose lives require them to be together.
What I appreciated about the obligatory Young Adult romance in Unworthy, though, was the fact that it wasn’t the point. Romance was not the main thrust of the plot. If anything, the romantic sub-plots seemed to be vehicles to move the plot forward, rather than the plot being an excuse to write about angst-filled young people torn by love.
Unworthy was a lot like what I’d wanted The Hunger Games to be. (Not that I thought Collins’s series was just an excuse to write about angsty young people in love. I liked her books. Just...slightly less.) Armstrong created a realistic future: dark with secrets, technologically advanced, understandably beset with issues. She took a not-overly-emotional female with hunting skills and put her in a dystopia where she was “chosen.” Arcadia showed sympathy, a desire to change her corrupt society, and the ability to feel romantic affection in spite of her scary circumstances. I’m fairly sure Unworthy is the first in a series, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it.
Also, the Australian vibe of the island community was a refreshing divergence from the other Young Adult dystopias I’d been reading lately. The Australian spelling was cool, too....more
Kind of slow to start, self-consciously trope-thwarty, and abrupt in its ending. Mostly I was just annoyed by the cover art (with the lady clearly notKind of slow to start, self-consciously trope-thwarty, and abrupt in its ending. Mostly I was just annoyed by the cover art (with the lady clearly not wearing the glasses that were a big deal in the story...) and the title (which was barely relevant to the girl-power-hah-look-at-this-fairyland-and-the-poor-nerdy-princess). But I actually kind of enjoyed the reading experience, in spite of this snarky critical voice of mine......more
I read a synopsis of one of David Levithan's books and I think "blegh, romance"...but then I remember how uplifting and funny and insightful I found tI read a synopsis of one of David Levithan's books and I think "blegh, romance"...but then I remember how uplifting and funny and insightful I found the last thing I read by him, and how it made me remember why I love reading, and how I'd so throughly inhabited his world and his characters in the short time it took me to plow through the book.
And this book is a perfect Levithan romance. Its characters feel and express love in a nuanced and realistic way. There's a spectrum of sexuality, and there are characters who struggle with love and life and happiness in a way that reminds you how much shared humanity there is in our everyday struggles (a point not so subtly made in the narration, but a point that I found comforting enough not to mind its somewhat didactic presence...).
David Levithan always writes with such optimism, and such clarity, and such empathy. And his books fill me with something like love. Or hope.
But the ending was kind of abrupt. I wanted to spend more time with A--not just in the form of the six additional days from the past, which kind of read as scrapped prologues--and less time with Rhiannon (who seemed, as Levithan's characters often do, a little too perfect).
I don't think my only complaints were that I wanted more of it and that its characters were too perfect, but any other qualms I had while reading seem insignificant compared to the overall impression. Which was positive....more
I like how the glamorous, rude, selfish superficiality of Isabel and Cole gets some depth in the way they narrate it for themselves. But even with theI like how the glamorous, rude, selfish superficiality of Isabel and Cole gets some depth in the way they narrate it for themselves. But even with their introspection and glimmers of empathetic behavior, I grew weary of their melodrama sometimes. And kind of angry that they were beautiful and smart and talented (and self destructive)...like, can these characters be a little less perfect, please? I kind of preferred them in the context of the differently-perfect Grace and Sam. (Also, possible spoiler: I preferred the acknowledgement of condom use in that couple's relationship, though I guess it would make sense for this to be an oversight with the glamorous prettypeople...even though they're really pragmatic otherwise.)...more
Yay for Spike. But boo for date-rape-drugging and generally disappointing plot. And kind of not my favorite illustration style. But mostly boo for howYay for Spike. But boo for date-rape-drugging and generally disappointing plot. And kind of not my favorite illustration style. But mostly boo for how this Buffy deals with date rape (or, rather, the way it was treated as inevitable/not a huge deal...except kinda by Spike). And Xander is the worst....more