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The Woodlands (The Woodlands Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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The protagonist, Rosa, is a hard person who has had a hard life, but she's not unwilling to change, it just takes time. I noted many of the negative reviews said she was unlikable, but I didn't find this to be the case. Being abused, mistreated, and unwanted can make anyone hard, so let's not pretend that she should be ultra likable. I found this portrayal more real than books that make a downtrodden character the most upbeat and hopeful person in the world.
While the premise of this book is pretty good, it doesn't flesh out very well. Rosa comes to conclusions about different people (particularly her father) without any clear evidence of why she feels a certain way. She has epiphanies with no underpinning circumstances to bring about the epiphany. It's a bit confusing for the reader. The conclusions are right - but how did she get there in the first place? This kind of progress in the development of the character is what has me giving lower stars.
The abuse on the children across the board also doesn't make sense. Basically, it's written as all adults in authority are mean and/or evil, with only two exceptions. They all physically abuse the kids (of all ages) and seem to take joy in it. There's also a lot of verbal abuse. Overall, in a world where cooperation is the key, treating everyone like garbage makes little sense and doesn't really contribute to the quality of the book.
Overall the book is fine. I didn't continue the series because I think that the other books are too expensive for the quality of the story that we get.
The Theme of The Woodlands is very interesting. It's about a girl, Roas, who takes a bit too much after her father. She intentionally gets herself into trouble, finding herself held at a distance by her classmates. When she finds out her mother is pregnant, she must choose when to leave her family, now or once the baby is born, due to the one child law. As she attempts to escape from her life, she finds herself in an unseal friendship with a blonde haired boy named Joseph. Knowing they can never be together, Joseph holds her at a distance, breaking her heart. Rosa settles into her classes, learning to become a builder. When she acts out during an evaluation she finds herself waking up months later and pregnant, part of an experiment created by the government to eliminate the need for families and to create the perfect babies reflecting the best physical traits of all races. Eventually she finds herself rescued and on the run with her new friends and Joseph, the father of her genetically engendered unborn baby.
While the concept is interesting, I find that the story didn't hold my attention as well as I would have liked. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with it, it just wasn't my cup of tea. There were interesting parts, but I kept waiting for it to grab me and not let go. It kept letting go and I found my thoughts wandering as I was reading. Ordinarily it takes me a day to read a book around work. It took me three days and a weekend in between before I finished it. There are tons of great reviews for this book, and like I said, there is nothing wrong with it, it just didn't click with me. The end is a cliff hanger, and yes, I'd like to know what happens to Rosa and Joseph, but I'm not going to die if I don't find out right this second. I think for me, it was that I didn't click with Rosa. There is something about our personalities that just didn't mesh and make me really care about what was happening to her. But just because it didn't click for me, doesn't mean it won't click for other readers. It's definitely worth trying out. Please don't think that just because it didn't captivate me, that it won't be compelling for you. Give it a try, see if it's a good fit.