Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Fever

The Fever
by Megan Abbott

Deenie lives in a small town with her brother and her dad.  Her mother left years ago after having an affair.  In addition to her family, Deenie has her best friend, Lise, and a couple of other girls with whom she spends her time.

One day, Lise has a violent attack in the middle of class and collapses.  She ends up in a coma in the hospital.

When another friend suffers an attack, parents become worried.  As a third girl falls, the one thing that connects them all is Deenie.

As the panic grows, Deenie searches for clues to find out what is really going on.

Final thoughts:  Bland and confusing.  There are multiple points of view, a couple of which are just unnecessary.  The author goes out of her way to misdirect the reader, with no real purpose for doing so.  There's also a preachy quality, as if Abbott is very anti-vaccine and uses the HPV vaccine as the prime suspect in all of the attacks.  The real reason for the hysteria is never really explained at all even after the initial cause is revealed.  Maybe there was an attempt being made to explain the hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials, but that never really worked, either.  Blah.

Rating: 2/5

Friday, February 7, 2014

Promise Me Something

Promise Me Something
by Sara Kocek

Reyna Fey just can't seem to get a break.  Her mother died when Reyna was just seven years old. Her father was in a near-tragic accident that put him in a coma from which he's just starting to recover.  And she's been forced to go to a different high school from all of her middle school friends due to a redrawing of the district lines.

She's alone on the first day of school.  Until Olive Barton shows up in her life.

Olive is different from anyone she's ever known.  She's brash, loud, and speaks her mind no matter what.  She's also gay and Reyna's never known someone who was gay before.

Reyna was raised Catholic, so she has a difficult time dealing with Olive's admissions.

When a train accident changes Reyna's world, she must face many questions in her life head on.

Final thoughts:  Started one way and ended another, with a winding story that touched on many issues, but never settled any of them.  Reyna's Catholic and hates foul language in the beginning of the book, but her religious issues don't even come up with Olive's admission. Everything deals with how Reyna is trying to fit in with the crowd, but even that is barely covered.  Could have been so much more.

Rating: 2/5

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant
by Joanna Wiebe

Anne Merchant is used to living near the very rich.  Her dad is the mortician in a small, wealthy community and Anne is his "weird" daughter with the crazy, bipolar, dead-by-suicide mom.

Two years after her mother's death, Anne is sent to Cania Christy, a boarding school on a small island, dedicated to the education of the children of the ultra-wealthy.  Anne has no idea how her father can afford the tuition, considering his lack of funds, and she has no idea what the tuition would even be for a school where the students all wear the most trendy clothes from the choicest of designers.

What Anne does know is that there are secrets at Cania Christy.  Every student has a guardian who watches them 24/7, grading them on every tiny decision and mistake.  Every student has a PT, or "theme" that guides them through all of their classes.  The student who succeeds the best at achieving his or her PT is the Valedictorian of the class.  And being Valedictorian is what everyone wants... everyone.

So Anne must now find out the truths that everyone else seems to know, before she gets expelled from what could be her last chance.

Final thoughts: I liked it as I read it, but now have questions after it's done.  Some of those questions are spoiler-ish, so I won't go into them here, but they are bugging me.  It also ended on a kind of cliffhanger that felt kind of forced and like the author wants a guarantee that the reader will be back, instead of making the reader want to come back with an excellent story.  Anne was OK.  Ben was a snooze.  Villius was evil incarnate.  And the rest of the students were caricatures and stereotypes.  The mystery itself was actually quite mysterious, though.  Don't look deep at this one as you read and you could really have a good time.

Rating: 3/5  (4/5 as a read it... but the questions... the many questions...)

Sunday, February 2, 2014


by Maya Gold

Abby has spend her entire life being invisible.  No one notices her and that's OK.  The only person she wants to notice her is the cutest, most popular guy in school, but being ignored by him only helps Abby because there is no way she wants to get noticed by his girlfriend and mean girl of the school.

Suddenly though, things are changing.  Things happen around Abby just because she thinks them, even if she doesn't really mean them.  And things really start to go her way when she turns sixteen and finally gets her license.

With her license, she now has some freedom.  Like the freedom to drive over to Salem and see the cute coffee-shop guy, Remy.  And the freedom to get a job near the coffee shop, making it a guarantee she'll see him often.

But Salem has a history, and Abby is about to find out how much that history means to her.

Final thoughts:  Meh.  So much awkwardness.  Too many standard "moments".  Too many unanswered questions.  And too strange an end resolution.  The story just flips around in the timeline with flashbacks occurring with no warning, and changes in time and location occurring between one paragraph and the next.  Abby is all over the place being a good girl when required and then planning revenge spells and love spells in cruel ways.  She gets one guy to fall in love with her and then basically ignores him except when at school or if it's needed in the story.  The mean girl thing goes really far and then flips it by making the reader feel almost sorry for them.  Abby isn't really sympathetic and there just is no real reason to care about her, Remy, or the story in general.  And what's with the dad's girlfriend?  What is the point of having her there at all?  I kept expecting her to be a part of the evil plotters but she's just a nobody who takes up space on the page.

Rating: 2/5


Related Posts with Thumbnails