- File Size: 2062 KB
- Print Length: 229 pages
- Publisher: Christina McMullen (June 4, 2014)
- Publication Date: June 4, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00KSCAJSI
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,221,650 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$12.99|
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Kind of Like Life Kindle Edition
|Length: 229 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Age Level: 13 - 18|
|Grade Level: 9 - 12|
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Another reason why she gets that grade is because the entire book is a celebration of creativity and imagination, a break from the ordinary. Genres can bend at the drop of a hat. One minute you’re in a lush faerie forest full of magic, phoenixes and wonder. Another minute you’re in a Wild West desert being chased by a sheriff and his posse. And then you’re flying through space unleashing pew-pew lasers upon other spaceships that want to gun you down and watch you burn. You know how people say that imagination has no limits? Neither does this book. Crossing genres is creative in and of itself, but telling a cohesive story with compelling characters to keep it from being shallow? That takes a lot of skill and Christina McMullen has that in spades.
Speaking of compelling characters, how can you not like the chemistry between Renee Ward and the man who rescues her from the cracking utopia, Blake Carter. They start off being suspicious of each other and sometimes annoyed at their presences. But the more they learn about each other, the closer they become. Blake’s past of being abused by his parents isn’t just an empty attempt to make him appear sympathetic. It’s a trust builder and it ties into the story in a way that sensitively deals with such a traumatic topic. The descriptions of the abuse he went through and how his parents got away with it Scot free are heartbreaking to read about. I came within a hair of shedding some tears for this scene. Renee Ward doesn’t necessarily have to heal Blake through her relationship with him, but she does understand his pain and she does handle his trauma in a delicate way. Does he want to talk about it? Does he want to avoid the subject? Renee is there for him either way. These two characters don’t complete each other; they complement each other. That’s the stuff healthy relationships are built on. We need more of this in fiction today.
This book has an uncanny ability to play with your brain like silly putty as you try to piece together the puzzle of the plot or wrestle with your emotions through all of the heartache. I like being surprised. I like having my darkest emotions triggered. I also like having my lighthearted emotions triggered as well. There’s something for everyone in this novel. You want a thriller? You’ve got one. You want fantasy? It’s all yours. You want a psychological rollercoaster? Have at it. As I’ve said before, “Kind of Like Life” deserves a five out of five star rating for being everything I wanted it to be and more. I know full well that anybody else who picks up this book will have the same glowing opinion. Christina McMullen is awesome like that. It makes me look forward to reading other novels in her catalog as well.
This starts more like a typical fiction story, where the introverted, socially awkward Renee is discovering that life really did get better after a cross-country move. It's not like life is perfect, but with friends to give her more of a place than she had back in New Mexico, and a hot guy who likes her, she's finding the downsides easy to brush aside.
But this part of the story is playing out a lot like a really bad self-insert fanfic (although with admittedly very good writing). I kept hitting details that felt like terrible worldbuilding, and it was harder and harder to convince myself the fantasy portion would be worthwhile when the details initially presented looked like the plot would go a certain way.
And just when I'm eye-rolling hard enough to almost put the book down unfinished (super magical kiss with soul mate!!! Bleagh), the first big twist shows up and changes the rules completely. Because the fantasy is bigger and stranger than some wish-fulfillment fantasy/romance. This one will kill Renee if she can't get to the truth.
Even then, her odds of surviving don't look good.
The book immediately gets funnier, snarkier, and starts this glorious trip through all sorts of genres, worlds, and powers. Renee and Blake have all kinds of villains to fight. Zombies. Interstellar enforcers. Elves. And way more.
I love how the use of imagination allows for both an anything goes mentality, coupled with some hard limits. If she believes this is how things work, they will. But if she's subconsciously believing otherwise (or if someone explains why something won't work) the impossible goes back to being impossible. So there's a weird balance that Blake and Renee need to work with---not enough information and one of them is going to inadvertently cause trouble, but too much and their biggest advantage won't work.
And it leads to so much fantastic imagery. I'm particularly fond of the phoenixes, but I also found so much to laugh about throughout the book. They shift genres and expectations at the drop of a hat, and the story can pivot from flying spaceships with laser weapons to being pirates on a tropical island looking for treasure.
Overall I'm glad I stuck around long enough for the hook that changed the book from "interesting, but not really my thing" to "this is awesome." I rate this book Highly Recommended.
So, Ms. McMullen, although an author I had never read before caught my eye with "Kind of Like Life". The story begins as if it is going to be a sweet tale of Renee, a sixteen year old girl who moves to a new town, and is fortunately able to make some really good friends in a short period of time. There is even a love interest that seems to have some potential. All is looking up for the new girl in town until some strange people attack her and her possible boyfriend in a local abandoned light house. When the dust has settled, she has met Blake, another sixteen year old who tells her that nothing that she is experiencing is real...
I won't tell any more of the story, but from that point on, the tale takes off in the most amazing directions. The characters are very believable and present their story with depth, leading you through the tale, building to a climax that leaves the reader breathless. It was very enjoyable to read and the only disappointment I had was that I became attached to the characters and wanted to know more about what happened after the book ended.
I could see "Kind of Like Life" as a successful film, but that's just my personal opinion.
I received a free copy of this book in a book promotion with no expectation that I would write a review.
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So I thought of trying this experiment instead. It's a pretty original idea, you've got to admit - even readers reviewing books by the likes of, say, Philip K Dick never thought of doing anything like this, and a lot of his books ('Ubik', just to pick a random example) are as tricky to review...
...Mm, I don't know. We're not even halfway through this yet and I'm having second thoughts already. I wish I hadn't mentioned P K Dick because many of his novels are also concerned with the nature of reality: is the world you think you're living in real, or is it some kind of illusion (a dream or hallucination maybe, or even something more sinister) and how can you tell? Well, what's just crossed my mind is that, although this is a clever idea for a book review, is it too clever, too good to be true - could there be more going on here than I'd realised as well? I mean, where did this whole 'experiment' idea come from in the first place? Think about it: why should I try to persuade you to read someone else's novel - it doesn't make sense. Has someone been messing with my head, sort of tiptoeing about in it, tinkering with the wiring in there (which would explain one or two other oddities I've noticed, like a certain song by The Smiths which has been going round and round in my brain on a loop ever since I 'had' this review-as-experiment idea?) But who? And why? Someone who's trying to get me to write an inventive review of her book, that's who: faced with the problem of how to get a few decent reviews, this author has mulled it over (or, I suppose, mcmulled it over) and came up with the clever idea of a review-as-experiment, then telepathically projected it into my mind...
Hang on though, telepathy isn't possible in real life, only in stories - so where does that leave me and what I thought was 'the world'? I'm left (as usual) with the suspicion that there must be more to all this than meets the eye...kind of like the book this review is about in fact. And kind of, now that I come to think of it, like life...
But I was hooked. I found the characters appealing and even the baddies had depth. The story engaged my interest, and it was both complex and chilling at times. Even the happy ever after wasn't so cut and dried that it felt formulaic.
I loved this book and would have no hesitation recommending it.
What happens then is nothing short of remarkable and makes me so glad that I persevered. Once you get to the "meat" of the story you are dragged in to a helter-skelter ride that takes you into realms that are at once familiar, but also utterly surprising. It's more than fair to say that the opening in no way prepares you for what is about to come!
There is plenty of mystery in here and some adult themes that will certainly get you thinking. The characters are very well delineated and appealing once they start to move through the main part of the story. The author doesn't pull any punches, but is also very sensitive to the audience, so there are only limited descriptions of certain aspects of the story. This isn't a criticism but rather a recognition of the talent of Ms. McMullen in handling some difficult topics in a way that other authors would simply avoid or gloss over with a lot of hand-waving. Here the author tackles the issues, but limits the detail in some areas in respect of her audience. Personally I think this is commendable, not just for a YA audience but also in general terms in a world where sometimes the "nasty stuff" is glorified for the sake of supposed "shock value" alone.
Definitely a five star read and heartily recommended to everyone, especially lovers of YA fiction.
‘Kind of Like Life’ started out as a sweet YA-novel with a fairytale-feel to it, nothing out of the ordinary, but suddenly everything within it changed and I sat with a book of a kind I had never read before. It was a fabulous feeling following the main protagonist as she with all her wit and might and determination tried to solve the impossible situation she suddenly found herself in. I cannot go in further on details since I don’t want to spoil it for you, but if you are looking for a unique YA-novel that will take you on a whirlwind ride, this is the one. I have to say, though, that I loved the ending and its beautiful message that even if life changes dramatically, it is still worth living.
Don’t hesitate, get this book today, and be amazed.
Es passieren unglaubliche Dinge und die Geschichte tangiert mit jede Menge überraschenden Wendungen viele Genres. Man weiß nie wie es weitergeht. Durch und durch spannend und sehr humorvoll.