Published: HarperCollins, 2013
Worth Your Time?
It has some great quotes, if you take them out of context. I’ll list them below. Don’t let them get your hopes up.
“And you can’t be an artist and not drink coffee. It’s just… not done.”
“Dan missed part of her next sentence, because she had said she liked him.”
“But when he closed his eyes, the tree became a vine and the vine became a shackle, and then it was the same nightmare all over again.”
“‘A bit,’ Abby said as their sandwiches arrived, along with a double espresso for Abby (on the house) that the waiter had just accidentally (yeah, right) made for a mixed-up order (read: Abby).”
“He always chose the same mirror. It had deep black scratches in the upper right-hand corner that looked vaguely like a word, and each night he’d decide it spelled something different. Tonight, it looked like HELP.”
Dan is whiny and paranoid as all get-out. He keeps being right to be paranoid, even though it made no sense for him to be that paranoid in the first place? You can’t use your character’s unrealistic intuition to advance the plot. Also, you can tell he was written by a woman.
Abby and Jordan are very similar characters, as far as I can tell. They go back and forth between being Dan’s absolute best-est friends and being inexplicably angry or sad about absolutely nothing. The trio got into SO MANY pointless arguments; it just felt like filler conflict.
Also–instafriendship. AND instalove. But the instafriendship was more disgusting. You don’t become an inseparable trio after two weeks of knowing each other, unless you’ve spent every second together AND gone through something major/life-changing. These guys liked each other immediately and “bonded” over one trip into a creepy basement where literally nothing happened. BUT THE STRENGTH OF THEIR FRIENDSHIP KEEPS BEING MENTIONED THROUGHOUT THE BOOK AS IF IT’S REAL. IT’S NOT REAL JUST BECAUSE THE AUTHOR SAYS IT IS. THIS WAS SO PAINFUL.
Felix was okay. I liked that he was a little weird, and he has a cool name, but his involvement in the plot is still annoying.
Basically nothing happens until the end, and the stuff that does happen isn’t realistic or properly explained. The overarching mystery is not even close to being solved at the end of the story, which is supposed to make you want to read the rest of the series, I guess, but now I’m doubting that it will ever be explained well.
I still don’t know if the villain of the story is a real person or a paranormal entity. It’s too vague.
Not the worst I’ve ever read, but not good, either.
If you’ve ever looked up lists of the most annoying cliches in YA literature, you’ll see the “letting out a breath that I didn’t know I was holding” cliche listed on the majority of them.
That one made it into this book.
A lot of the narration was weird and repetitive. The dialogue is just… bad. It has its believable moments, but generally speaking, it sounded forced and unnatural.
I will say that this book did a much better job than Miss Peregrine’s at including pictures. They feel more like a natural addition or backdrop for the story and less like the story is being told around them (for the most part; there are a few glaring exceptions).
Difficult to talk about without spoiling… To keep it in the vaguest of terms, Dan has a mental illness that is never explained well. I feel like we should’ve gotten the name of it upfront, and maybe more information on how it affects him. Instead, we get the sense that he’s got some sort of psychiatric history, and we’re left guessing as to what that history is. I had noticed symptoms of at least two other disorders before finding out what he actually had. It’s never made clear which symptoms are a part of his disorder, and the backstory is almost entirely left out.
It feels like the disorder was just thrown in there to make the story creepier, and I imagine anyone who has that disorder in real life would find the portrayal offensive.
And it didn’t really make things that much creepier; just harder to follow.
Who Would I Recommend This To?
To be honest, I wouldn’t.