Unfortunately, my book slump is still going strong. I haven’t been able to find a book to truly love, so I’m back with another round of mini-reviews! This one went slightly worse than the last one, but I’m going to continue getting through books until I find the one that breaks me out of this. I started out with a little book with a beautiful cover that drove me absolutely crazy while I was reading it.
Part love letter to New York, part portrait of a girl and a city in crisis as Hurricane Sandy hits New York City.
When Emilia de Wit ran away to New York City, she planned everything to a T. Plane ticket, purchased. Cute apartment, rented online. Subway map, printed and highlighted. This was no ordinary trip — this was Emilia’s declaration of independence. Her chance to escape the life her parents were ruining. To get away from the horrible scandal that had rocked Amsterdam, the scandal that was all her dad’s fault. To see if her mom, the glamorous, world-famous artist, would even notice.
New York steals Emilia’s heart at first sight — even though absolutely nothing goes to plan. She didn’t plan to end up homeless on a stranger’s doorstep. She didn’t plan to make friends with Seth, Abby, and Jim. And she could never have known that Hurricane Sandy would be barreling up the coast, straight for the city.
All she wanted was to get away from her parents, her problems, her life . . . and when the storm hits and the power goes out, Emilia feels farther from home than she could have imagined.
Description taken from Goodreads.
I’m going to go out on a limb and hope that maybe this book is less awkward in its native language, because I couldn’t stand the writing of A Hundred Hours of Night. The sentences were choppy, and the voice of the main character wasn’t at all organic. I forced myself to get through about half of it before eventually DNFing because I couldn’t stand it anymore.
And it wasn’t even just the writing. There are so many things wrong with the plot and with the characters. Part of why I wanted to read this one was to see the way it deals with teens on the run, but what this book is really about is a privileged brat who runs away to another country because her family goes through a scandal. The pacing, the characters, the plot, the writing, none of it worked for me.
It’s basically Charlie, Presumed Dead, if you take out the parts that make it a thriller and replace it with parts that make it about Hurricane Sandy.
Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.
Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.
While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.
As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.
Description taken from Goodreads.
The Year We Fell Apart is the one that came closest to breaking my book slump this time around. For one thing, it had an endearing premise. I’m on the lookout for an amazing story about friendship, not necessarily love, and I hoped that The Year We Fell Apart could be that book.
It wasn’t, and that wasn’t a horrible thing. This book has its own charms, though I do admit I enjoyed the first half much more than the second. The reason why The Year We Fell Apart fell short for me was that I realized how repetitive it was once I got to the end. The plot consists of three things: partying scenes, friendship scenes, and it’s-the-Harper-show scenes. I got sick and tired of the arguments and the blaming and the half-baked backstory. By the time I got to the super rushed, anticlimactic ending, I was more than ready to be done.
Castella Cresswell and her five siblings—Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem—know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.
Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice.
Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.
Description taken from Goodreads.
There is a wrong way to do books about cults, and this is it.
I guess it’s not technically a ‘cult’ book in the traditional sense, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s call it that. Now, Alienor does a much better job of breaking down all the things that went wrong with this book, but let’s boil it down into one simple point: This book is about a weird and sad family that means nothing to you when you start the story and means even less when you finish it.
I didn’t get emotionally attached to the characters or the story at all, and I wasn’t engrossed in the villain and the horrible things he’s done. I’ve read lots of cult books since my review for Amy Christine Parker’s Gated went up in late 2013, but it’s still the story that sets the bar. If you’re looking for something truly worth your while, go read that.
Of the books here, I definitely liked The Year We Fell Apart the best. It had an intriguing premise and made care just enough to tug on my heartstrings, but ultimately, it just didn’t work out. And as for the others, The Cresswell Plot was weird and A Hundred Hours of Night is a book I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have liked even if I wasn’t in a slump.
- The Year We Fell Apart: 2 stars
- The Cresswell Plot: 1 star
- A Hundred Hours of Night: 1 star