DNF. SO disappointing! The first half was ok. Mostly fun and slightly charming with short paragraphs and characters and a story that never fully gotDNF. SO disappointing! The first half was ok. Mostly fun and slightly charming with short paragraphs and characters and a story that never fully got off the ground but was still engaging enough. Then. Halfway through a supernatural element and new characters were introduced and it just feels silly and like it doesn't fit. This book was shaping up to be a 3 star read (nice, but nothing amazing) and I would have finished it, but with this new stuff it's just not strong enough to bother with anymore.
Well, I really wanted to like this book. I'd convinced myself that I would like this book because the cover art and the title were just so darn charming. Color me disappointed when the first half of the book was almost charming and almost engaging, but never quite got there. The main character was a sketch of someone I could care about, and the aunts were sketches of people I could find menacing and creepy, and the house was something I could almost find intriguing, but none of these things went past the potential for greatness into actually achieving greatness.
Then supernatural elements were randomly introduced about halfway through and the plot took a turn and I just wasn't prepared to get on board with this new direction. Maybe if I was already invested, or if there had been more to prepare me for those twists, but none of that was the case. The twists also weren't the type of twists that surprise, but rather just a totally different direction. I don't know, maybe it's just me (I don't like it when Plans Change), but it all seemed to come out of nowhere which made it feel tacked on and not like a cohesive story.
Sadly, this one isn't for me. I had such high hopes....more
I've carted this book through three moves and before moving a fourth time I figured it'd be in my back's best interest to decide if this was worth schlepping again.
So is it? Eh, yes and no. I have access to e-copies through the library, and that's enough "ownership" for me. Now that I've read my paper copy, I think I'll trade it in at the local used bookstore for something else.
But that isn't to say I didn't enjoy the book. The premise is so different and engaging. I was hooked over the entire 400+ pages. The chapters are also tiny, which always helps.
The mystery starts out with trying to figure out what happened to Annaliese, why she disappeared for a year and where she spent that year since her memories of that time are gone. Once that mystery starts unfolding, then another more paranormal mystery takes shape. Then as that mystery starts revealing itself, the mystery of what is Annaliese going to decide to do captured my interest. Each mystery was engaging and flowed seamlessly into one another, which kept the momentum of the overall story up and my interest never flagged.
While that is a lot of stuff and makes up for a good bit of the massive 400+ pages, there's also a lot of people drama mixed in filling up a lot of those pages. The parts with Annaliese's family had me hook, line, and sinker. Probably because I'm a sucker for heart-felt family stuff that feels secure and fluffy and loving. There a fierce love that felt palpable and gut-wrenching and good.
And then there was the romance, and that paled in comparison. It felt tacked on as the Required YA Romance, and while I fully admit I'm the kind of reader who generally wants a touch of romance in everything and whines when it's not there...I could have done without it here. Also, the teenage high school drama (friendship, mean girl, ex-boyfriend, new boyfriend, yada yada) was boring.
Part of me thinks this is because I'm old and not a teenager, and therefore also not the target audience. Part of me thinks it's because those sections were more filler and slowed down and interrupted the paranormal and mystery aspects of the storyline. Part of me thinks they were kinda necessary too though. So, maybe it would have been better if they had been kept in, but trimmed a little.
At one point I was tempted to just give this book away without reading it (cover judged it, still don't like the cover), but I'm glad I didn't do that. I'm glad I read this book. It was different, engaging, and touching. The paranormal bits weren't the typical thing, and I was overall satisfied with them. But, now that the mysteries are over, I'm ok with letting it go.