Contemporary

Seashell Reviews [8]: An Uneven Trio

No time to track down full reviews of YA books? Seashell Reviews offers bite-size thoughts to let you know which books you shouldn’t pass up, and which ones you can hold off for another day. Original titled blog feature by Angel @ Mermaid Vision Books.

(Click the book covers for more information!)

My adoration for magic realism is quite well-documented on this blog, so Struck found its way onto my TBR very easily. That said, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Jennifer Bosworth’s debut novel. Bosworth goes beyond the mystery of Mia Price’s draw towards lightning storms to mix in cults, natural disasters and even a commentary on the abuses of religion. As interesting as these things are, I felt overwhelmed by the rapid-fire switches in focus, and the book wasn’t as descriptive as I would have liked. The insta-love that develops between Mia and Jeremy were also a cause for concern–their relationship simply wasn’t concrete enough to make me believe they were truly right for each other. Struck brings on exciting action and adventure, but readers looking for something a little more character-driven may not be satisfied.

Many contemporary novels are passed over for high-concept speculative fiction, and while I can’t blame anyone for wanting awesome dystopias, it does seem a shame that books like Wicked Sweet get so little attention. I loved that Mar’ce Merrell kept the focus on the friendship between Chantal and Jillian. The characters never feel like caricatures, thought they do put together some crazy pranks, and I enjoyed the multiple POVs that Merrell employed to further deepen their characterizations. Wicked Sweet is a fun summer read that will charm readers with entertaining banter, realistic characters and lots of cupcake mentions.

Rarely am I mystified by a YA novel, but James Preller’s novel Before You Go is reminiscent of This One Time With Julia and just as confusing. The story only begins to make sense around the halfway point, but the reader is still mired in events that don’t seem to have any relation to the heart of the plot. Jude fails to be a compelling and interesting character, and the fact that it’s so difficult to get to know him does not help make the story appealing, even to a reader like myself who wanted so badly to like it. Overall, Before You Go brought out feelings of impatience, as though I’d been told to await something truly extraordinary, but like Vladimir and Estragon of Waiting for Godot, I waited in vain.

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4 replies »

  1. I’m glad to see your review on Before You Go, I was interested in that one, but it doesn’t seem all the interesting anymore. I do want to check out Wicked Sweet though.

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