Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Verdict, No. 11

(find the judgment here)
by Julia Karr

This book is entirely forgettable. Literally and in every way. Three days, and I've already thrown any and all recollection of it away. So I guess I'm really not in any position to review it. But I'll try.

I remember the beginning was good. The build-up. (And I remember I was dead on about the plot twisting at the 50-page mark, because I never forget being right like that). And I remember there was indeed a complete-opposite best friend (didn't really see that end coming though). And there was something close to a love triangle for all of three pages before Karr decided, without reason, that that didn't matter anymore. Introduce hot Asian chick, pass off ex-lover to her, and everyone's happy-go-lucky again. Because these characters are devoid of any realism. They are fake cut-outs that you're never given any reason to care about.

Oh, yeah. I definitely remember that.

This novel was weak in every way. It fell into every common YA trap: it introduces an edgy concept, only to never really follow through with it; it turns from focusing on the world to zooming in on the relationship status of the main character; it doesn't worry about characterization but about reaching the next plot point; it relies on cliches to create a world that even the writer didn't understand completely; and there is no point to it. You think with 1984 as the grandad to the dystopian novel people would understand it wasn't just about a gritty world--it was about relating it back to our now and making the characters stand out in some real sense.

Nope. Nothing like that here.

And I really did start out liking it. The first few pages were interesting because of the world. And then Karr bailed on that to tell us how much her two main characters were in love (we won't even get into the ultimate cliche of how they actually had no reason to be in love. At all). So by that 50-page mark, I felt betrayed. None of it mattered. The world was too broad for the narrow focus she spun; the characters were too shallow for the depth she tried to throw them to. And it wasn't even well-written.

Everything about it felt forced. The writing, the characters, the world. There was nothing real about it, and so I just put it down and moved on. Because, on every level, I just didn't care.

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