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Needs a Good Editor and Less Formal Speech - BUT, Interesting Premise and a Likeable Protagonist!
on April 21, 2016
This book needs a serious editor. Before I continue, I want to say that I'm not a grammar freak. I rarely notice grammatical errors. So, when I say it needs an editor, it's not about the grammar. There are so many misused words in this book, it drove me insane. The problem is, when you use the wrong word, but it's spelled correctly, then spelling/grammar check isn't going to pick up on it. Little things like form instead of from, pray instead of play, that kind of stuff, is distracting. Having a book professionally edited can help pick up on those things.
Okay, I lied, there is a grammar problem too. It's the use of tenses. This book is written in first person present tense. However, frequently the author throws in a past tense in the middle of present tenses, which also drove me a bit crazy. Choose one and stick with it. It's distracting!
I also didn't appreciate the level of detail provided by the author. Too much description is just as bad as not enough. I don't need to know what each part of lunch consists of unless it's a relevant part of the story. The same thing applies to hair and eye color of every person she meets, even those only mention in passing. The clothing descriptions made me wonder if this was supposed to be a prep for a fashion magazine. Simply put, it's okay to say, we had dinner and discussed my college choices, without describing the pot roast with all the trimmings, the type of drinks and how many grains are in the bread.
The book also dates itself by trying to mention too much of pop culture from the time. I think for future books the author should consider no mentioning specific pop culture references, such as the New Moon movie coming out in a few weeks. The only reason for this is that being more general allows for a more diverse audience (For example, in five years, do you still want this book to seem relevant to the target audience? If so, then don't mention something that's popular in 2009, it isn't going to matter much for 2016 or in 2020).
There is a major disconnect for me when it comes to Jackson and Jocelyn. Their inability to touch (not a spoiler, it was in the description of the book) is interesting but never explained. ****Warning Minor Spoiler Ahead inside of the asterisks!!! My biggest problem is that despite the serious injuries that occurred each time he got too close, he was always careless and touching her. I don't get that. If not for the intervention of his father, she would have died at the last incident. It doesn't make sense for someone whose supposed to be so caring and conscientious to be so careless and thoughtless.****
Lastly, in the negative column, is the verbiage. I think it's funny that a character specifically mentions how formally someone else speaks when all the writing has them speaking super formal. Occasionally the author seems to realize this and tried to add in "I'm doin somthin" (okay, for example, not an exact quote) in an effort to break it up. Unfortunately, it didn't work. For the most part, these teens sound like they belong in 1896 rather than 2009.
This doesn't mean that the book doesn't have promise. Despite all of its shortcomings, I found myself wanting to continue to read to learn exactly what was going on. The premise was intriguing, although a bit convoluted I found Jackson to actually be a bit of a tool, but loved his family dynamic. Jocelyn is quite likeable and it's easy to understand why she hid the things she did. I like the friendships she has and how they handled disloyalty in their groups.
This book was being offered for free, which is why I picked it up. While I'm curious about the rest of the series, I won't buy them. At the end of book one, there is a "glimpse" of book two. Right away, I found the same problems from the first book, including, "I was determined not to break down in from of him." Yes, from is correct, that's what it says. If the book were $.99, I would probably pick it up, but I can purchase a Stephen King book on Kindle for $5, and it's professionally edited. If, at some point, the author offers further books on Kindle Unlimited, for free or for 99 cents, I'll read on. However, as it currently stands, I'd rather read something that's not going to frustrate me, especially if I'm paying for it!