Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Lisa Jewell is an author whose work can be a hit or a miss with me. But when I read the premise of this novel, I knew I had to read it. It was just so unusual and I could tell it would give me the tension and thrill I was seeking. So here is how my experience went:

35297426Summary (Goodreads):

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?

 


My feelings when it comes to this novel are very divided. There were things I felt were very well done, and things I thought could definitely have been improved.

Let’s start with the positives:

I really liked the writing style. It was very easy to read this book because it had a very good flow. I had no trouble at all getting through this story, and I thought the descriptions of the various scenes was apt. I also loved the way the author drew up the emotional elements of the story. This is where Lisa Jewell shines. She is able to make the reader connect so well with the characters and really feel the emotions that they are going through. Clearly, there is no problem with this writer’s ability to write.

But then there comes the negatives:

This story was just so predictable. The mother-daughter relationship in this book is nothing unique. I’ve seen it a million times already and while I’m not expecting some crazy variation, there just wasn’t anything there to set this one apart. I also didn’t like that the first few chapters contained all of the major revelations. It didn’t leave a lot to the imagination.

Now I’m pretty bad at guessing what happens in thrillers. In fact, that’s why I like them so much: they always have me barking up the wrong tree. But in the case of this story, I had it pegged from the very start. Every prediction I made turned out to be true. And that was really disappointing. Predictability is never a good thing when you’re trying to serve up a mystery or thriller because it will make the reader bored. And that’s what happened with me. I just wanted to get through the story quickly to see if I was right, and when I did, I felt nothing at all. There were also some parts of the story that didn’t really make much sense and that also affected my enjoyment of the novel.

Overall, I have conflicting thoughts on this novel. On the one hand, the writing and the emotional elements of the story are really well done. But the actual plot suffered due to its lack of originality. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

2 star

Happy reading ~

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Pretty Ugly Lies by Pamela Crane

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

In accordance with my plan to read books about marriage (yes, I’m still doing that), I decided to give this one a shot. What made it more interesting was the fact that it centered around more than just one woman. I wanted to see all of the different issues that could be brought to the forefront by each character. So let’s get on with my review:

40787693Summary (Goodreads): What causes a woman to murder her whole family?

Jo’s idyllic life would make most people jealous. Until one day her daughter is abducted and the only way to find her is to unravel her dark past.

Ellie is a devoted wife… until she discovers the pain of betrayal. Now vengeance is all she can think about.

Party-girl Shayla knows how to hide her demons. But when she’s confronted with a life-shattering choice, it will cost her everything.

June knows suffering intimately, though the smile she wears keeps it hidden.

Soon the lives of these four women intersect and one of them is about to snap…

 


This book started off with a bang. Too bad it didn’t continue that way.

My first major problem with this novel were the names of the main characters. Okay, I know this may sound petty at first. But think about it: Jo. Jayne. Jude. Janyn. June. Seriously, why?! The names did NOT have to be this similar and it made it so hard for me to distinguish them. Not only did their names sound the same, it was also hard to differentiate their personalities at times. It became cumbersome for me to read this book, so much so that I needed to make a little flowchart of who everyone was and how their story line was developing. That is way too much work for a reader.

I also had a problem with their “problems” with their marriage and role as mothers. Now, I’m not a wife or a mother so there’s a limit to how much I can understand about the pressures of both of these roles. But some of the problems they mentioned just seemed so bizarre. For instance, one mother described taking care of her kids as a thankless and suffocating job. And I get the suffocating part because I know (from my own mother’s exasperation with me and my sister) that kids can completely consume one’s life. But do you honestly expect your little children to constantly thank you? In that case, all children are thankless, terrible monsters. Some of the perceptions about marriage and children seemed a little too naive, or rather, too dramatic. I just couldn’t understand why the women were making certain complaints about things that are honestly very common? But like I said, I’m not a mother or a wife. Maybe once I get to that stage, the emotions that these women were feeling would make more sense to me. But there was just something about it that was overly dramatic and I didn’t enjoy that. I guess I just don’t like characters that are materialistic and whine a lot.

I think the writing style and the plot itself were both interesting. Despite the negatives mentioned above, I did want to know what was going to happen and how things would be handled. I thought the writing was very poetic and flowed nicely. The pacing was spot-on and the twists were well executed. Some of the parts of the story were quite predictable, but while the ending took me aback, I wasn’t as convinced with the motive behind it; it just seemed so weak and could have done with some more development.

This novel just didn’t work for me on a lot of fronts. I think the writing style was good but the final reveal combined with the lack of connection with the characters was a real downfall. For that reason, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

2 star

Happy reading ~

The Book Of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

Thank you to Penguin Random House and the First to Read program for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

When I selected this book, I did not actually read the synopsis. I just went by the title and the cover; they were both intriguing enough for me to just give this book a shot. What I read ended up blowing my mind and I am so happy I made the decision to read this book! Here is my review:

34503571Summary (Goodreads): Esther Ann Hicks–Essie–is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She’s grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family’s fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie’s mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show’s producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia’s? Or do they try to arrange a marriage–and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media–through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell–Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom?


So let me start off with a TW: there are quite a lot of scenes/mentions of abuse so if that bothers you, then you might not want to read this book.

To say I loved this book would not be nearly enough to express my feelings. I LOOOOOOVED THIS BOOK! It had everything I was looking for in terms of twists, and character development, and just …. rawness (yes, I just made my own attribute).

I know that this book has religious undertones to it. And usually, I stay away from books like that. I don’t like books that target a religion and say only positive or negative things about it. But this book is different. It really isn’t about religious beliefs as much as it is about the “commercialization” of religion and the way something innocent can be twisted for personal gain. This is something that various religions have shown. While this book features Christianity, I felt that many of the issues this book brought up can be seen in Hinduism, as well. The use of religion as a platform to make money and fame is quite common these days, and I did not think the author was ever trying to bash any religious tenets in doing so. It’s a tricky balance that could have become offensive – but it didn’t. And for me, that shows a lot of skill on the author’s part.

The writing style of this story was absolutely superb. It was tight and filled with tension, with character POV’s that had me hooked. It was absolutely brilliant and I had no issues with it at any point. It was just consistently good writing throughout the story. The scheming and the planning behind everything was so well thought out and each reveal shocked me more than the next. The author also ensured that there was great character developments so I felt very connected to Essie.

I know that if I keep talking, I’m going to start spoiling the story so I’m going to end my review here. Suffice to say that this is a very gritty and tension-packed story. It is disturbing but if you like messed-up books with brilliant writing, then you should check this one out. I’m giving it a 5/5 stars!

5 star

Happy reading ~

Mary B: An Untold Story of Pride and Prejudice by Katherine J. Chen

I love Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It was one of the first classic novels I had ever read and I thought it was so witty and lovely. I love rereading it, and watching movie adaptations of it, so of course when I heard about this book, I knew I had to give it a go!

36505861Summary (Goodreads): What is to be done with Mary Bennet? She possesses neither the beauty of her eldest sister, Jane, nor the high-spirited charm of Lizzy. Even compared to her frivolous younger siblings, Kitty and Lydia, Mary knows she is lacking in the ways that matter for single, not-so-well-to-do women in nineteenth-century England who must secure their futures through the finding of a husband. As her sisters wed, one by one, Mary pictures herself growing old, a spinster with no estate to run or children to mind, dependent on the charity of others. At least she has the silent rebellion and secret pleasures of reading and writing to keep her company.

But even her fictional creations are no match for the scandal, tragedy, and romance that eventually visit Mary’s own life. In Mary B, readers are transported beyond the center of the ballroom to discover that wallflowers are sometimes the most intriguing guests at the party. Beneath Mary’s plain appearance and bookish demeanor simmers an inner life brimming with passion, humor, and imagination–and a voice that demands to be heard.


Review: 

If I’m honest, one of the reasons I was so intrigued by this novel was because I actually could not remember Mary’s character. I knew she was one of the Bennet sisters but she had such a minor role in the story that I had completely passed over her. I was so intrigued by how the author would shape her personality and show how she was affected by the marriages of her sisters.

There were some positives to this story…. but also some negatives.

The author really made an effort to have the story start off from where Pride and Prejudice began. I really liked that the story went beyond the events of the original novel and into a future that readers had always speculated about. I also appreciated the effort taken to maintain the same language usage as in the original novel.

There were quite a lot of mentions about how plain Mary was in terms of her looks and behaviour. Usually, I am not a fan of repetitive themes but it worked well in the story because it reinforced the idea of why people never really gave Mary a proper shot.

But here’s where the positives end.

While I was excited to see how this author interpreted Pride and Prejudice, I thought there were quite a few flaws. For one thing, there were quite a few discrepancies between this story and the original. I won’t go into the details but there were enough to affect the quality of the story. I also didn’t think that any of Mary’s romantic ventures were developed properly. There was a lack of elevation to it, making it seem very cheap and cringey. She may not have been the most beautiful or poised Bennet sister, but that doesn’t mean that her romance should be any less.

I was also very disappointed in the way other characters in the book were portrayed. The Colonel Fitzwilliam described in this novel was quite different than in the original and I found it hard to wrap my head around this new persona. I was also very disappointed with how the author portrayed Lizzie. She was (and continues to be) my favourite character from Pride and Prejudice and I don’t think the author was really fair in her depiction of her. Call me biased, but I don’t think there were any signs of Lizzie being cruel or selfish in the original, and yet the author in this novel decided to portray her as such. It was so disconcerting and unbelievable for me to read about this “new” Lizzie, who did not resemble the original Lizzie Bennet.

I think that the author tried to do something very interesting and unique here. While I appreciate her efforts in bringing alive a character that was hidden in the background, I do not think that it was executed too well. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

2 star

Happy reading ~

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Well everyone, here I am, back again with my reviews! I’ve actually been reading all of these books during my hiatus but I just didn’t have the time to put everything into a blog post. But it’s here now, so I hope you all enjoy!

35410511Summary (Goodreads):  Sweetness can be deceptive.
Meet Hanna.
She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

 


Review:

To say that this book was creepy would be an understatement. It was INCREDIBLY creepy. I really thought that the premise of this story was intriguing (and messed up – in a good way) and I’m really glad that I got a chance to read it.

The strongest aspects of this story were the development of the characters and the way the plot developed. I thought writing the story from the perspective of both Hanna and Suzette was a clever one, as it gave us a lot of insight into what was happening in their heads. I wish the author hadn’t spent so much time describing all of the details of Suzette’s medical condition – even for me, it was a bit dull and I found that it didn’t necessarily add all that much to the story. A brief mention of the condition would have sufficed. I definitely preferred reading from Hanna’s perspective and the author captured her voice perfectly.

In terms of the plot, it was really well executed with a gradual building of tension that eventually led to the main climactic event. There was just the right amount of tautness to keep the reader on edge, wondering how the story would unfold. I think that there were moments that had the reader questioning whether everything was really as simple and clearcut as initially presented – was the mother really the victim, and was the child really evil? – but this idea wasn’t developed further. I wish it had been because it would have added more depth and nuance to take the story to that next level.

With all that being said, I really enjoyed reading this novel. It was a very interesting concept and the author definitely delivered on the tension and creepy factor. For me, this story gets a 4/5 star rating!

4 star

Happy reading ~

Exhibit Alexandra by Natasha Bell

Thank you to Penguin Random House and the First to Read program for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

This novel sounded super interesting to me and I wanted to see if it would be different from other novels dealing with marriage in the thriller category. Here are my thoughts:

Goodreads (Summary): Before she disappeared, Alexandra Southwood lived an average, happy life: devoted to her wonderful husband, Marc, and caring for her two beautiful daughters. But now, held in a room against her will, Alexandra is forced to think about all she’s lost, and imagine how Marc and her daughters are coping in the wake of her disappearance. She’s shown news clips of Marc, desperately appealing to the public for information on her whereabouts. She tortures herself with visions of her family’s devastated new reality. And as she envisions Marc’s distress, she can’t help but remember their courtship, their marriage–all that he saved her from and all that they’ve built together.

Marc’s pain is visceral. He thinks of nothing but her. Even when the police discover Alexandra’s bloody belongings by the river, turning their missing-persons case into a murder investigation, he cannot accept that she is lost to him. He shifts from total despair to frantic action, embarking on his own journey through the dark maze of secrets she kept and passions he never understood. Following a trail that leads him to find answers to questions he never meant to ask, he’s forced to confront how frighteningly little he’s grasped about the woman he loves.


My Rating: 3 star

Review: It’s been a few days now since I’ve read this book and I still have no idea how I feel about it. Was this a terrible book or a genius work of literature? I will hopefully be able to answer that question by the time I’m done this review.

This story is told entirely from Alexandra’s perspective, and it’s done in a very different way. One chapter, told from Alexandra’s voice, is recalling the past and how Alexandra and Marc got to this point in their life. The other chapter is about how Marc is dealing with the current situation…. but it is told through Alexandra as she imagines what he must be going through. This chapter also ends with Alexandra talking about herself in the present moment with her unknown captor, and occasionally, there are letters written from Alexandra’s friend from her college days. It’s a very weird way to tell this story but it somehow… works…. ish. Even though Alexandra is telling the reader what Marc must be going through, I still felt as if I really was able to understand Marc’s character. He was someone who I could really get behind as a main character and I liked that this novel had a male protagonist instead of the usual female one.

This book does have a focus on the art world but the author doesn’t make it overbearing. The art information in the story is detailed enough to make its point but it wasn’t overly detailed or boring. The story itself was able to come through, which was really nice.

Now, I can’t really talk much about the plot itself. But what I will say is that this novel focuses on a few things, one being the role of a woman in marriage and in family life, and the lengths one will go to create art. In terms of both of these aspects, I thought the author brought up some food for thought and I really found myself pondering some of the questions this book raises. I will admit that the story took a long time to make itself clear and the ending was one that definitely left me stunned and confused … but it was a situation where I really couldn’t pinpoint whether I loved it or hated it. It was rushed, it had some ludicrous elements to it … and yet, it brought an interesting perspective that I had never really considered before.

This book is definitely not like any other thriller I have ever read. It is a bit slower in pacing, but there are so many unique elements to this story from the writing style to the actual themes in the book itself. It is one of those books that you will either love or hate … and I think I am leaning towards the former!

Happy reading ~

Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson [eARC Review]

I received this novel as an advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was first drawn to the cover and title of this book, both of which seemed a bit quirky. The premise sounded a lot more serious but it really appealed to me because of its focus on a child who is torn between two parents. Here are my thoughts:

34564829Summary (Goodreads): Willow Thorpe knows friction… The friction between her parents, Rosie and Rex. The friction inside herself as she tries to navigate two worlds since their divorce.

But life has not always been like this.

When Rosie and Rex first met, theirs was an attraction of opposites. Rosie lived life for those heightened moments when love reveals its true secrets. Rex lived life safely, by the rules. Common sense would say theirs was a union not meant to last, but it was genuine love.

Now Willow just wants to be with Rosie, to bask in her mother’s outsize glow and, she thinks, protection. Because Rosie is the only person who can make Willow feel totally alive and completely loved.

But as Willow and Rosie and Rex try harder and harder to stay connected as a family, Rosie’s manic tornado of love continues to sweep up everyone in sight, ultimately to heartbreaking results.


My Rating:   2 star

Review: Trigger warning for suicide and drug abuse.

I wanted to love this book so much. But it just didn’t work for me.

The story is told from 2 different perspectives. We hear from Willow, the daughter of Rosie and Rex, as she struggles with having to go between her parents now that they are divorced. We also hear from Rosie and Rex when they first met and how they fell in love with each other. I really liked that we had these two perspectives because they made for a very interesting and well-rounded story.

I think that the issues this novel explores are very interesting and deep, and deserve to be mentioned. It is definitely a sad and moving story.

But the novel left me wanting more.

I wanted to understand Rosie more and I wish the author had used this novel to give more of a platform for mental health issues. I wish that there had been more opportunities for the reader to connect with Rosie and Rex because they felt very awkward and stilted; the only time they came alive was when Willow was describing them and I felt like there was a missed opportunity here for readers to understand Rosie and Rex.

The ending was sad but it felt unresolved for me. I finished this book wanting more from it and feeling like it missed the mark. For those reasons, I’m giving it a 2/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims

Thank you to the publishers and Edeleweiss for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

The title was too intriguing to ignore. I saw this and thought it was the funniest thing ever. I’m not a mother, but I know I’ve driven my mom crazy over the years. This would be the perfect way for me to get a glimpse into her world, albeit with a ton of humor! Here is my review:

Summary (Edelweiss): Boy Child Peter, Girl Child Jane and Daddy have exciting adventures with Mommy. Daddy likes gadgets. Peter and Jane like starting fires, trying to kill each other and driving Mommy to drink.

It is Mommy’s 39th birthday. She is staring down the barrel at a future of people asking if she wants to come to their yoga class, and book clubs, where everyone is wearing statement scarves and they are all ‘tiddly’ after a glass of Pinot Grigio. But Mommy does not want to go quietly into that good night of women with sensible haircuts who ‘live for their children’, boasting about Boy Child and Girl Child’s achievements. Instead, she clutches a large glass of wine, muttering FML over and over, and then remembers the gem of an idea she’s had…

Review: Just like the summary suggests, this is a lighthearted read. If you like Bridget Jones’s Diary or anything by Sophie Kinsella, you will probably enjoy this book. I thought it was funny and cute, and I enjoyed the break from my usual reads.

But this wasn’t my favourite book out there.

I was entertained as I read about Ellen, our MC, struggling to be the “ideal” mother. The author was very witty in her descriptions of everyday life. The story definitely got sweary at times, but that didn’t bother me too much. However, there was nothing that pulled me to the book. I found I got bored at times, especially in the middle. Maybe it’s because I can’t relate to the MC since I don’t have children and haven’t experienced everything that is mentioned in the book. But that hasn’t really been a problem before. I also found some of Ellen’s actions questionable and irritating. But then again, this novel is told as a diary and we’ve all done imperfect things in life, right?

Overall, I think this was a funny story, but it wasn’t remarkable. It didn’t keep me wanting more. I’m giving this a 3/5 stars and would recommend it for anyone looking for a lighthearted read.

Happy reading ~

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

So far, my experiences with Clare Mackintosh’s books have been positive. I absolutely loved I Let You Go, her debut novel. I See You, while not as intense of a thriller as her debut, was still a very good read. I went into this book with high expectations, wondering how twisted the story would get. Here is my review:

35839475Summary (Goodreads): The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.

Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to question her parents’ deaths. But by digging up their past, she’ll put her future in danger. Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie…


Review: This is a book that is leaving me more than a little conflicted. It had its positive and negative moments, and I think a lot of it can be attributed to the way the author went about telling the story.

When I first began to read this book, I was a little disappointed. It started off like many other thrillers. Anna was a character that came off as very one-dimensional; while I could empathize with her grief, that seemed to be all that constituted her personality. From the start, she was obsessed with proving that there was more to her parent’s deaths than just suicide …. but I had read this type of story so many times that I just didn’t feel any interest. With the addition of an unknown person’s perspective in the mix, I thought I had pretty much figured out the story.

For about 200 pages, everything I guessed was on the nose.

AND THEN IT WASN’T.

Almost 100 pages before the end of the book, the major twist happened. And I really liked the twist. It shifts the paradigms and it makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about a person. I don’t want to say any more because I want this to be spoiler-free, but it was definitely surprising and I really liked it.

But here’s the real question: was the twist good enough to redeem the earlier part of the book? For this, I don’t really have a good answer. On the one hand, the twist saved this story from being a disappointment for me. It made me sit up and gripped me and made me invested in the story. But to get to this point, I had to slog through the novel. Now, after finishing the novel, I can understand why the author went about telling the story this way: by making the reader believe that this would be just like every other thriller, she managed to deliver the most epic shock factor. But even though I got the thrills, I still didn’t really care about Anna’s characters. Other side characters were also not as well-developed as I would like, and the introduction of the retired police officer was really not too necessary as he didn’t add too much to the story.

To sum it up, this was probably my least favourite book by Clare Mackintosh. That being said, it’s still quite good and better than most of the generic thrillers out there. I’m going to give this a 3/5 stars because I was definitely caught off-guard … but the twists weren’t enough to redeem the entire book for me. I will 100% read more by this author, though; she is definitely talented and knows how to spin a good tale!

Thank you to the publishers and Edelweiss for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

I have a penchant for finding disturbing stories. Most of the time, I love the stories despite their gruesome nature. I like the different perspectives that these novels give me about what it means to survive, and how a person can be affected by trauma. It’s also interesting to see how cruel or twisted someone can be. I picked up this book hoping to get a glimpse of all of these things. Unfortunately, I did not. Here is my review:


Synopsis (Goodreads): Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father.

Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her. The reader tracks Turtle’s escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, and watches, heart in throat, as she struggles to become her own hero–and in the process, becomes ours as well.


Review: Stephen King said this novel was a masterpiece. After reading it, I find myself struggling to see why. I feel like I am one of the few people who did not like this novel but I simply can’t understand what was so great about it.

First of all, the writing was just terrible. There are so many minute details given about every little thing. The conversations, however, are the first. I have yet to meet a single human being talk like that. I am in the world of academia, and not a single professor has ever talked to me the way that Martin, Turtle’s father, talks. I just couldn’t handle the philosophical rants that seemed to never end and were about the same issue. I hated almost all of Turtle’s conversations were just repetitions of curse words; I get it, she hears it all around her, but what is with the obsession of saying c_nt all the time?! It made her seem so much more simplistic than she really was. I was even more bothered when Turtle met the two teenage boys because their conversations and interactions were so unrealistic. It made me wonder if the author had ever actually met teenagers before. First of all, they don’t just talk about aliens all the time or act as if the girl in front of them doesn’t exist. Second of all, they don’t say “dude” and “sick” every minute.

This novel was presented to be a story about how Turtle deals with the abuse she receives from her father and how she survives and finds herself. But as I read, it just felt like the author was trying to exploit the abuse factor. There was no careful handling of the subject matter. It was very crass, and while I can handle difficult topics like sexual abuse and incest, that doesn’t mean it should be handled so indelicately. It left a bad taste in my mouth.

Maybe there was some magnificence to this novel. But the bad dialogue, bad characterization, and careless handling of a serious and sensitive topic made it hard for me to see the good in it. I’m giving this a 1/5 stars.

Happy reading ~