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Treehugger (Based on a Dream, #1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 317 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The issues were difficult to move beyond, however. the first issue was that there were so many made up words in the beginning that it was hard for me to become interested. I ended up setting it aside for months. When I picked it back up, it took me days to get caught up on what little story there had been up to the point I put it down. Another problem was that suddenly, the POV changed from Star to CK. I felt that the speaker was still Star and that the story was continuing with Bettle. The CK I believed I had come to know was no where to be seen in the character at this point. There was another awkward POV shift where Lea was brought in, but thankfully we moved back to Star for the rest of the story.
There were many other awkward moments in the telling that caused me great exuberance when I realized I was nearly done.
I know this is a YA novel, but I've been reading a ton if ya books, and this 1 truly struck me as YA. As in the 10-12 year old range, or at least NOT for a woman who has kids. Chloe (aka Star) was drowning in self-pity and whined too much for my taste, as did another female character she's best friends with. Having a daughter on the brink of hormonal tantrums, it hit too close to home.
The plot of the book? I loved hearing about the other worlds and the characters that went with the worlds. This is the ONLY reason the book received 2 stars from me. I thought they were interesting. I kept expecting some profound reason why the "ethi" was not acting like it should, kept expecting this Koter character to play a bigger role than just a memory. Sadly, there was no real suspense, no real DEPTH to the story. I was *really really* disappointed with this lack of a profound underlying plot. The prologue was very misleading, as well. You think Niik is going to play a big role, but he's got NOTHING to do with this book except.....nothing!! Why?
I can't believe I'm considering reading book 2, but I'm curious if the plot.....becomes a plot.
Jacondor, how I wish I were there.
Treehugger is a well-written book that begs to be savored like a rich chocolate mousse. I couldn't get enough of it, and I'm afraid I've spoiled myself for other books for a while.
Chloe/Star is trying to hold herself together after the disappearance of her friends--and not doing a good job of it. She's 14, leads a double existence, and has been through far worse. But she's not prepared to go it alone. Does she have any hope?
There were just a few teeny, nitpicky things I didn't like:
Exclamation points. The majority weren't necessary since the inflection came through loud and clear in the great writing. Their use should be like caps lock online.
A couple points of telling in quotes. "Of course, as home to the most important trade post in the Altern system, Malis 7 has to be tolerant toward others..." That's a bit too formal coming from Star. (Truthfully, it's amazing this didn't happen more often with all the information given about the different worlds and races--a sign of the author's strong writing.)
The teacher's question about having a different math class seemed weird to me. (I had a teacher once look at all our schedules on the first day, but didn't discuss any of that in front of the class.) Why single out that one subject? Was that the only class someone could have had different? I know it was there to thwart Chloe's plan to fly under the radar, but seemed an unnatural cheat that the author didn't need to resort to. That character point had already been well established.
There were some slight pacing issues. A couple of the time shifts between scenes seemed abrupt and one mission in the middle came out of left field. With ten sentinels sent, it made the scene seem more important than it ultimately turned out to be. (Though I completely get the time element.) A bit of backstory in the middle also slowed the tension of the scene. Thing is, I loved having that information, but those characters never showed up anywhere else and it seemed an unnecessary side trip in an otherwise amazing scene.
The stuff that happened "off-screen". Some of Star's necessary transformation seemed glossed over. And the moment she saw who Bettle met, should have been shown. I understood the emotional impact, and LOVED the scene where she tells Tarthimum, but I wish I'd gotten to experience it, too.
Leada got to be a bit heavy-handed and preachy in the end. Since she returned so late in the book, her conflict and resolution seemed a bit rushed, leaving her a bit of a flat character. She, too, went through a gut-wrenching time, but it only took *that* to "fix" all the growing up/apart she'd done?
The title fit less and less the further I got through the story. It's a small part of her personality that didn't have that much bearing on her life or journey. (I'd have gone with "Star, Jacondorian Sentinel" or "Earth Girl") I do love the cover, though.
As for what I love about this story (I'm not sure I can get through this without sounding like the gushing fangirl I am):
Amazing story, very well executed (and edited!!!!!!!). I'm not a fan of epic fantasy and usually don't like a lot of world-building/backstory. This novel struck the perfect chord for me. I loved seeing the different alien races and getting interesting tid-bits without getting bogged down in too much detail.
I loved Star's ultimately positive voice. I never felt that her emotional scenes lasted too long or were out-of-character for her age. I identified with her quite a bit as a wallflower--thankfully I never went through the meanness that she experienced.
The premise of the child sentinels was fascinating and I loved watching it all play out around Star. Most favorite scene would have to be the game in the gym--just phenomenal.
I don't think I got enough of CK's eyes. Would love to see that in person. Also loved the touches of humor: the way they sent leftovers to their home (and the all-too-common problem of forgetting about them), Star's sarcastic mouth, the suit showing up in the locker due to newbie dimension confusion...
I really wish this story hadn't had to end. It's one of the few stories I will reread. Thank goodness I only have to wait another month or two for the sequel.
That being said, I loved this book. It was very thought-provoking. I loved the characters and the world and I'm glad Risktaker is now out! I just bought it and can't wait to read it as well. It *is* a young adult book, but is very well-written and excellently edited. It's hard to find that combination in self-pubbed books, especially in the YA genre. This doesn't really read like a typical YA novel, so don't let that scare you off if you love the sci-fi / fantasy genres.
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