Sarah's Reviews > Ruined

Ruined by Paula Morris
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Feb 11, 15

bookshelves: zzz-2011, dnf-rubbish-flounce-goodbye, reviewed, read-regifted-or-borrowed
Read on September 24, 2011

It's early to give up, I know, but I've got a bad feeling about this one. Here's why:

1) It reads more like a middle-grade novel than a teen novel. I don't like middle grade because there's almost always...

2) ...too much Telling/Not Showing. In fact, I daresay the first 30 pages are an epidemic infodump. BEEP! Big mistake. The first few chapters of any novel are critical...and infodumping is a really risky choice. I don't want to spend those first minutes having everyone tell the heroine why the cemetaries in NoLa are so famous, or the population of the city is still wonky after Katrina, or what a shotgun house is -- I want her (& the reader) to discover it for themselves, or at least spread the informative convos throughout the story. I want -- dare I say, NEED -- to spend those first several pages getting to know the narrator and/or the author's tone. And honestly? I don't care how much the author loves New Orleans. Show me later. For those opening minutes, give me character. Alas, from what I've read in other reviews, this Tour Guide Yammering doesn't stop for most of the first half. Yawn. Immediate!Infodumping is a surefire way to get off on the wrong foot...

3) ...therein putting much pressure on the reader's connection with the heroine. But I can already tell Rebecca won't save anything. This girl is seriously flat. Her story is told in third person, so any personal thoughts are little better than augmentation for the infodumps (Her father once told her about...She barely remembered Aunt Claudia until...). Her every experience beyond the airport is a lens to give the reader visuals for New Orleans; meanwhile, she 'rebels' against circumstances in that obnoxious way of an adult pandering to Da Teenage Blues (wah, I have to relocate for six months because my dad is going to China, boo-hoo, I'm leaving everything I know!). Even these flaws could be forgiven up to a certain point...except that Rebecca is about as dynamic as a week-old omlette.

Anyhoo...

It's pretty obvious that I didn't like this. At all. :P It's a shame, really; it has many elements I love (according to the jacket, at least). But Rebecca is an awkward age -- fifteen -- because she demands potential readers that are neither old enough for legit teen sex/violence/language (e.g. Nevermore) nor young enough to amuse with childhood woes (e.g. Diary of a Wimpy Kid). Methinks this book will be a tough go for most adult readers, whether they read YA to enjoy vicarious late-teen adventure or giggle at tween awkwardness.
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Comments (showing 1-37 of 37) (37 new)

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message 1: by Shelley (new) - added it

Shelley Taylor wow they made it sound so good & I love books set in New Orleans. But I guess I will only read this one if I get free somewhere.


Sarah Lovely cover, too! *sigh* But yeah, I'd recommend a swap site or the library or something.


message 3: by Ellie (new)

Ellie Nevermore as in...which Nevermore? There are so many.


Sarah Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. (I think that's spelled right.)


message 5: by Ellie (new)

Ellie Oh...thanks. :)


message 6: by Ellie (new)

Ellie Oh, THAT one! The girl in that one isn't old enough for most YA content?! Really??


Nikita Nice review.I loved the cover,though.


message 8: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) Yes to everything! I am regretting ordering an ARC of the second book through Amazon Vine. If I hadn't, I'd have stopped reading this after the first few chapters. I don't understand how it got published.


message 9: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) Shooot. I just realized the book I thought was a sequel to this is another stand alone. AGH. I should have paid better attention.


message 10: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah Jennifer wrote: "Yes to everything! I am regretting ordering an ARC of the second book through Amazon Vine. If I hadn't, I'd have stopped reading this after the first few chapters. I don't understand how it got pub..."

I don't get why this was picked up, either. With the flood of YA in the marketplace, you'd think there were plenty of better choices. Blech.

Actually, I'm relieved to know there isn't a sequel. :P


message 11: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) The writing style in this book reminded me of the books I used to read when I was 11 or 12, when basically my only options were R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Caroline B. Cooney, etc. These days, I expect a bit more quality rather than quick mass production, and I think today's teens do too.


message 12: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah I've only read one Pike book -- the new one, Witch World. It was okay, but I was expecting more. Hopefully the Thirst books are better. A friend rec'd the original trilogy as one of her favorites, so we'll see.


message 13: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) I LOVE the Thirst books...however, I don't recommend reading the third or fourth ones if you love the first two volumes. Volume three was just...well, I wrote a rant about it. Keep in mind I read the first ones when they were published in 6 volumes instead of 2. And waited 15+ years for those sequels. I also recommend the Remember Me trilogy. Good stuff.

I have Witch World and haven't read my ARC yet. It's high on the review TBR, though. But then I got sidetracked by Oz...


message 14: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah I have the Remember Me omnibus edition on my wishlist. Sometime in the near-ish future I hope to get to Thirst. Silly TBR, getting out of control since I joined Goodreads a few years ago...*sigh*

Anyway, I have the original Thirst in the new omnibus paperbacks. But I only bought #3 of the continuation installments after I saw the copyright dates. Such a long hiatus already makes me wary, heh.

Witch World was just odd. I can't describe it any better. The concept is really cool, but the execution I'm not sure about. I'll probably read #2, though, so there you go.


message 15: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) As it should make you wary. The "voice" just doesn't sound the same, and none of the characters felt familiar to me. Which is why there is a very rant-like, passionate review on my GR page. I was not happy.

Eek on Witch World. Though many of his books are rather odd, and I'm used to his style, so perhaps I won't be so bothered.

I saw on his facebook page that he's signing copies of it for fans if they provide a SASE and will also sign older books if they're sent to him. I'm really tempted since I loved his books when I was younger, but I'm not sure if I'll want a hardcover of Witch World yet. My BFF read it and didn't care much for it (though she's 40, and had never read one of his books before...).


message 16: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah I'll have to check your passionate review after I read the original series. That way I'll be better equipped to appreciate the disgust. :D

It wasn't his style I minded, per se, but I thought the scientific angle was awkward & dumped in with long dialogue expositions. The way characters interacted made me wonder if he secretly wanted to write an adult novel but settled for making everyone 18 so it could be classed as YA.


message 17: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) Ohhh, yes. I know what you mean!!! He did that a lot in The Eternal Enemy. Actually, one whole chapter is devoted to all the scientific stuff, so any time I re-read it I simply skipped over chapter 13. I wish I knew where my copy was; I'm kind of curious to see if I would understand it today.

He's written several adult novels: Sati, The Blind Mirror, Falling, The Season of Passage, Listeners, and The Cold One.


message 18: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah I loved Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park novels when I was younger, but it took four readings before I understood the genetic manipulation & whatnot in the first few chapters. Science just ain't my forte. :P But Season of Passage does sound interesting. I'm a fan of sci-fi/horror movies like Alien.


message 19: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) I haven't read Season of Passage...actually of those I've read: Sati, The Blind Mirror, Falling, and The Listeners.


message 20: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah I've added SoP to my wishlist, so maybe I'll get to it in the next decade. Haha.


message 21: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) Well, I've decided to read Witch World next. My BFF's review plus yours has now got me very curious...


message 22: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah Yay! I don't know anyone else who's read it. One of my friends got a copy recently, but she hasn't gotten to it yet.


message 23: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) I'm on page 132 right now...maybe I'll get this finished tonight! :-)


message 24: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) Ohhhhh myyyyyy GROSS!!!! Blech, puke, ewwww, aggh!!!!!!


message 25: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah Ha! Found something you didn't like in your current read? :P


message 26: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) It was the morgue scene, right before she came back to life. How the **** has no one mentioned THAT in any of the reviews I've read?


message 27: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah I had no idea. o_O Still not enough to make me find a library copy & check it out, though. What happened?


message 28: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) The morgue scene in Witch World? Witch World is my current read.


message 29: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah Ooooh, that! Excuse my brain collapse. Yeah, that necro bit was nasty. I'm surprised they let CP keep it in a book that's labeled YA.


message 30: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) He seems to be able to do whatever he wants...I'd be interested in seeing what earlier versions of it looked like.


Jeannie It is a middle grades novel with a middle grades interest level. It's appropriate for its intended audience.


Bipasha{is eviscerated by fiction} Most probably i wont read this book based on your review, which btw was quite nice. The sentence about the omelette was particularly amusing. Good work and thanx for the great review!
;)


message 33: by Jennifer (last edited Jun 05, 2013 11:32AM) (new) - added it

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) Jeannie wrote: "It is a middle grades novel with a middle grades interest level. It's appropriate for its intended audience."

No, this is not a middle grade novel. Point is part of Scholastic. In the product description on Amazon, it even says it is YA.


Mikayla Maybe you would have a change of heart of you finished. Spoiler: she isn't even fifteen! Try finishing books before you judge them! You basically just judged the cover and first hundred pages if even that far!


message 35: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah Mikayla wrote: "Maybe you would have a change of heart of you finished.."

Hm. I suppose anything is possible -- as to whether it's likely, that's another matter. But I'm thrilled to know you enjoyed the book enough to correct my unchangeable, uneducated, impossibly mean opinions. That gives me warm fuzzies a'plenty on this chill St Patrick's Day. :)


Mikayla "A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool."
William Shakespeare
I guess we will never know.


message 37: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah ...And yet I'm content. Go figure.


"I meant what I said and I said what I meant."

-Dr Seuss


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