Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 2136
What a mess
Overall rating 
Writing Style 
Reader reviewed by Denise

Elizabeth, aka "Kid," has never questioned her life as a thief. Since
moving in with her foster mother Sandra, Kid and her foster sister Alexi
have lived a life of relative freedom with no responsibilities or
school, just so long as they manage to steal enough money to keep Sandra
happy. Kid and Alexi share both a sisterly and romantic relationship,
though neither aspect is exclusive or healthy. When Sandra accepts a
third foster child, a boy named Dune, Kid's life begins to change. She
finds herself drawn to the role of protector and girlfriend to Dune,
both of which make Alexi furious. As the story progresses, Kid finds
herself facing the choice between Alexi or Dune, and the life that she
knew or the unknown.

I really did not like this book, though admittedly I'm not the
target audience. I found Kid to be an irritating character who seemed,
frankly, mentally unstable. I'm not sure if this was the author's
intent, but her disconnect from reality was not cool or interesting, as
it seemed we were meant to believe. She often narrated how the other
characters felt or what they knew, though none of these comments were
based in any form of reality. Instead, they sprung wholly from Kid's
delusional mind of what she wished were happening. Sometimes this seemed
to clearly be the author's intent, though other times I wasn't as sure.
As a character, Kid is a terrible role model for teens likely reading
this book and looking for someone with whom they can relate. Her sense
of right and wrong is as distorted as all of her other impressions, and
none of this appears to be addressed or resolved in the overly sappy and
unrealistic ending.

Dune, the other main character, rings hollow. Kid at least was
well-drawn, if unstable. Conversely, Dune lacks any sort of cohesive
personality or character traits. If it weren't for the romantic
relationship he and Kid share, I would have guessed he was supposed to
be a young child. He moves around like a cross between a zombie and an
insecure little boy, that is, very damaged goods with not much upstairs.
Unlike Kid, whose past at least can explain her mental state, none of
Dune's personality can be explained by his relatively normal upbringing.
His responses were beyond strange, especially when his "story" is
finally explained. I wonder if this was intentional on the part of the
author, somehow trying to show how Dune appeared to Kid and not
necessarily how he actually was. If that's the case, then it is better
than the alternative, but still unsuccessful. If this book was the
author's attempt at exploring unreliable narrators, it could have been a
good idea, but it just wasn't executed very well.

As for the writing, I've heard it described as beautiful and
lyrical, but I found it terrible. Ever read a teenager's really bad
poetry? That's what this book sounded like. An amateur's bad attempt at
sounding poetic. Almost every sentence trails off with an ellipse,
presumably to capture the thought patterns of the narrator, though this
was more an irritating gimmick than anything else. The plot, symbolism,
descriptions, writing style, and poetic attempts were at the level of an
angsty teenager, which, I imagine, is the target audience of this book.
If a reader likes that type of book, then they'll probably love this
book. For everyone else, I don't recommend this one.

Reprinted here with author's (my) permission.
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