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Don't Ever Change Hardcover – July 7, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—After Eva's English teacher Mr. Roush tells her that she needs to write what she knows, the teen decides to spend the summer between graduating high school and starting college on the other side of the country in Boston. She doesn't feel anything in her life to this point is worth putting on paper, however, and decides to try out other people's experiences. Eva becomes a camp counselor, she goes out with Elliott and considers sleeping with him, and goes out with a friend's ex-boyfriend. Nothing affects Eva like she thinks it would, but she keeps attempting to change herself to find things worth writing about. Through all of these changes, the protagonist drives away her friends and snaps at her family. Eva works hard to control what people think of her, but she makes snap judgments about others. Though told from Eva's first person point of view, she is a hard character to sympathize or empathize with as she struggles to change herself based on how she she's perceived. Her eventual growth doesn't seem to come about organically, but feels tacked on. With the exception of Eva's sister Courtney, the secondary characters are not fully fleshed out. Some references to drinking and sex make this title appropriate for mature teens. VERDICT Not a first purchase.—Natalie Struecker, Rock Island Public Library, IL
Praise for DON’T EVER CHANGE:“With her trademark snark and wit, Eva narrates a summer unexpectedly full of romance, responsibility, and self-reflection. Bloom has created a multifaceted, often curmudgeonly protagonist who is not always kind or careful, but who is muddling through teenagerdom as best she can.” (ALA Booklist)
“Readers will find themselves rooting for Eva as she begins to open up and see other people as more than just potential characters in her stories.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
Praise for DRAIN YOU“Bloom debuts with a languid, stylish novel that reads like a love letter to cult vampire flicks like The Lost Boys, the work of Francesca Lia Block, and Southern California in the 1990s.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Bloom’s writing style is unique, blending traditional flowery verbiage with irreverent contemporary dialogue. The plot is also a pleasing blend of friendship, romance, and action with a paranormal twist.” (School Library Journal)
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Top Customer Reviews
I have mixed feelings for this book. It wasn’t bad, but it also didn’t live up to my expectations. On the plus side, there were some great reflections on what it means to be a writer and on learning that shutting others out/distancing oneself from one’s experiences is not a healthy way to live your life. The plot itself is not new, but it had the potential to be a really fascinating story of personal growth, of learning to accept and embrace (scary) changes. Eva’s situation is extremely relatable. In addition, Bloom’s narrative is often funny, and I enjoyed a number of the secondary characters.
However, I hated Eva. Now, in Bloom’s defense, readers are supposed to kind of hate Eva. She starts off as a pretty obnoxious person, and the novel is primarily about her growth as a character. However, while she does grow in self-awareness, it doesn’t feel like she really changes all that much, and there are whole problematic behaviors that she never seems to feel convicted about. I don’t want to include any spoilers here, but the way she handles romantic relationships was really troubling to me, and she doesn’t seem to believe her behaviors are wrong. These problems are just swept under the rug at the end of the narrative, only superficially resolved. Therefore, the romantic subplot was totally unsatisfying to me, even though Eva’s main potential love interest (Foster) is an interesting and likable character.
One of Eva’s main problems is her arrogance and her tendency to protect herself by maintaining a critical distance in her interactions with others. She’s more interested in creating a good story than truly engaging in her life (read: allowing herself to be vulnerable), and she is selfish and sometimes callous. Even though the book is written from her egotistical perspective, we should still be able to see some of her (theoretically) good motivations. However, it wasn’t clear at all that there was a good, likable person underneath her judgmental nature. I found myself wondering why Steph, Michelle, and Shelby were her friends in the first place, and why Foster was interested in her at all despite how terribly she treats him. This is not just because of her flaws, but because I didn’t find Eva’s supposed “good traits” at all convincing. She was a flat character. The result was that it was hard to identify with Eva, and, therefore, hard to care about her.
***See full review for this book and others at my YA book blog: http://youryablog.com/?p=186
In Don’t Ever Change, Eva has just graduated high school. She should be elated. After all, the dreadful experience that is high school is finally over and done with! She can finally embark on the next chapter of her life—that is, if she can get her English teacher’s parting words out of her mind. Eva is an aspiring author who has been told to write about what she knows. But the only issue with that piece of advice is that Eva doesn’t know what she knows. Meeting new faces and forming new relationships, Eva decides to spend her final summer before University to figure out who she is. And, hopefully as a result, find out just what it is she knows.
I’ll just say it right now, if readers are looking for a novel told in the first person where you can easily slip into the character’s head—Don’t Ever Change is for you. Bloom is immensely talented when it comes to portraying a character through the first person in a way that gives them personality. I could easily place myself in Eva’s mind and see the story through her eyes with perfect clarity. There was a huge amount of realism in the narrative alone and I absolutely adored it
I seldom ever get irritated with a novel’s protagonist and often, found myself rolling my eyes at Eva. I know that that sounds very negative but it really isn’t. Eva’s a very unique character. She comes off as over-confident and full of herself, even though we know that she is the total opposite internally (sometimes). As a reader, we get to experience Eva’s internal turmoil while also watching her external actions say the opposite. So many times, listening to Eva and watching Eva interact with other characters had me ripping my hair out because of the way she would almost talk down to them. She’s such a flawed character and I really enjoyed that about her.
As Eva tries to discover herself, there is a bit of a side-plot romance that takes place in the story. First with a total wannabe rockstar in the form of Elliot, and a will-they-won’t-they thing going on with Zack. I’m a sucker for romance and actually really liked the way it was portrayed in Don’t Ever Change. It wasn’t overdone in a way that took over the plot or made it central to Eva’s character, but the additional romance definitely leaves readers interested and hooked. You want to know if Eva will fall in love. You want to know what this will do to her ‘mission’. You just want to know.
The only issue that I had with Don’t Ever Change would be the instances where the narrative would drop. There would be a lull in action and my attention would often start wandering. This was often made up for through the more comedic scenes that would occur between Eva and her experiences as a camp counselor. Still, these were moments that did impact my time as a reader.
I would recommend Don’t Ever Change to readers who are looking for a novel that has a relatable character who can portray the ‘average’ girl. Any readers who are looking for a fun teen-fiction novel should also give Don’t Ever Change a go, as well as any readers who want a fun summer read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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