The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
This is my least favorite book. Ever.
Elyse was so whiny and pretentious I could barely take it. I’m in awe that I actually finished it. Everything about this was trying too hard. I absolutely hated it.
Here’s the thing: Elyse was written like she’s supposed to be this mysterious, beautiful, ethereal woman… At 17 year’s old. The book opens with this flowery, purple prose about how Elyse belongs to the sea, etc, etc, and has no control over her destiny, blah, blah, blah. It was painful. I should have known from that first eye roll that I was going to hate this and put the book down.
Elyse is beautiful and OMG SEXXXYYYYYYY. She was practically a celebrity back in Tobago because of course she was monumentally talented and could shake her “boomsie.” She’s also a hella talented poet, master sail-er, and activist. BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE IS! Elyse is so great and awesome and perfect. Everyone at the Cove thinks she is too even though she can’t speak for some reason which of course is hidden from the reader until the very end of the novel. Despite the fact that she can’t speak, makes a big show of feeling sorry for herself the entire book, and has no personality to speak of, everyone seems to think she’s the coolest- To the point where she tames the biggest playboy at the Cove.
Elyse also seems to have some kind of hero complex. She single-handedly wants to save the town’s youth from those who think boys should wear blue and girls should wear pink, young men from father’s who treat them badly, and the entire town from corporate developers. Elyse was written terribly. She was obnoxious. Not only is she full of sexy feminine mystique, she’ll solve all your daddy issues too! Give me a fucking break.
The book had a plot, but somehow managed to make all of the things that should have been major plot points be the most boring parts of the book. In addition, the progression was so slow that it took me almost 2 weeks to read this book. It never takes me 2 weeks to read a book. One of the major arcs of this book is that Christian and Elyse are trying to win a boat race, but this takes a backseat to all the other boring drivel this book touts. Boring. This book was just boring.
Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I’m a huge Kenneally fan. I’ve read all of her novels. They’re usually about strong, independent young girls who are struggling to overcome and compete in male dominated sports. Keneally’s last novel, Breathe, Annie, Breathe, was poignant and heart-felt and full-on amazing. To be honest, the latest installment in the Hundred Oaks series seems a little beneath this author. It’s by far her weakest novel.
From the beginning, I hated Maya. She was unbelievably cliche. Kenneally seemed to struggle with the idea of creating a realistic “rebel.” Maya plays guitar in a metal band, wears a duct tape belt and ironic bracelets, she built and drives a motorcycle… It’s all a little much. Pair it with the fact that she has a bad attitude and isn’t into the super famous country star (obviously) because she’s too cool for school and I was over her by page 20. It was as if Keneally was trying to write the cool “guys’ girl.” This is the most annoying trope ever. It never seems genuine.
The two main characters seemed to almost instantly fall in love despite the authors attempts to make it seem like they were opposites with a ton of stuff in common. Almost nothing about this novel read true to life. Jordan and Sam were disgustingly saccharine and intolerable. Jesse’s family drama and his decision to quit the music business was stupid. I didn’t for one second feel sorry for him.
I think the bottom line is that I’ve read this story (normal girl falls for rockstar) too many times to be impressed with this sub-par version of it. I hope in her next novel she sticks with what she’s good at and writes about a girl who wants to play on the boy’s rugby team or something. This book was a quick read, but really a waste of time if you’ve read any of Kenneally’s previous work and expect a certain degree of quality from her.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I won this book via goodreads giveaway
This book was slow and complicated. It thrusts its reader into a world with its own rules and slang and complicated caste system without really giving them a road map. It took me quite a while to get my bearings. You’re basically immersion learning. It’s like someone dropped me off in Korea and expected me to instantly understand what everyone was talking about. It’s going to take you a minute to grasp what’s going on. This was both good and bad. On the plus side, it felt authentic. There was showing, not telling and I felt like the author assumed his reader was intelligent and would eventually “get it.” Conversely, I feel like there were parts of the book that I only understood in retrospect. For example, Darrow’s carving. I could sort of tell that the author was painting a beautiful picture, but it was like my eyes hadn’t fully adjusted yet and I couldn’t see what was going on until I was almost too far away to get the full effect.
Until the last 30%, I would have probably given this a 2.5 because it was just a whole lot of nothing. But the ending was mind-blowing. So action packed.
I also really loved the author’s portrayal of women. They were fierce and didn’t apologize for it.
I will definitely finish this series, but I’ll need to be in a certain mood to do it. Reading this requires a lot of neural concentration and I’m not always willing to commit to that when I’m reading for entertainment.