Nian's Reviews > Black Tuesday

Black Tuesday by Susan Colebank
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Feb 06, 08

bookshelves: 2008
Recommended for: if you're bored
Read in February, 2008

For this story, the most irritating thing was the clichéd my-best-friend-is-in-love-with-me. It’s possible for it to happen, but I don’t like the development idea. When the girl’s best guy friend appears in the book, it’s not a first meeting. They’ve had all this history that the reader gets only a small glimpse of, so the attached feelings that I usually get for the main couple doesn’t happen. If it was meeting for the first time or pinpointing an event that lead to the couple’s first real encounter, where everything started, I would clearly see the development.

Speaking of development, the characters were poorly developed. A short summary, just so you can follow: Jayne Thompson has her life planned out, and she’s making sure that she gets the perfect grades and extracurricular activities to achieve getting into her dream school Harvard. (It’s always Harvard. Like in that Hacking Harvard book. Why not Yale?) All it takes is one moment to change her life, and that’s when she crashes into two other cars. The outcome of it all? Her chances at being tennis captain shatters, her grades drop, she’s sentenced to community service hours as well as therapy sessions. But worst of all, she’s responsible for turning a child brain-dead, who eventually dies.

I really like the storyline. It still has that I-control-my-life-and-then-everything-spirals-out-of-control element, but nobody has chosen to really explore a car accident. Most car accidents happen to parents, and then they talk about the aftermath it has on the offspring. This, though, talks about an overachiever who messes up, and has to rebuild her life. It’s a realistic plot.

But. The poor characters don’t contribute to a good storyline. There’s this blandness to the characters, like they’re almost not real. There are some awkward parts with the dialogue that doesn’t fit in with the pages. For the character of Ellie, the sister, she’s not consistent at all. In the beginning, that character is very clear: a rebelling fourteen year old who just got into boys and alcohol, but then she kinds of loses her essence a few chapters later. And if that’s aiming at character development, I would understand, IF the author hadn’t placed Ellie in the same drunken party situation like, 4 chapters later. So where’s the change in that? I’m confused.

Something else that really bugs me about this book is the lack of feelings. There are all these lessons to be learned from the story, like about learning to take responsibility for your own actions and how nothing can be really controlled, but there’s no elaboration. The reader is supposed to guess at what the main character is going through. Infer. Which can sometimes be a good thing, to help with analytical skills and all that, but most of the time, you’ve gotta get inside the character’s head and thoughts. And this book doesn’t do that. Maybe once in a well, but again, there isn’t consistency.
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