by Bree Despain
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Source: bought from Amazon
The unsubtly named Grace Divine, an anorexic (if the cover is anything to go by) pastor's daughter, bumbles cluelessly about, disobeying her overly protective parents and older brother by befriending her former next-door neighbour, Daniel.
Daniel, for his part, is keeping secrets... but not very well. From the moment he steps onto the page, it's all the reader can do not to shout at the heroine and her complete cluelessness about Daniel's condition. Can Grace start being a little more observant in time to convince the reader that she's not completely oblivious to everything going on around her?
I just couldn't get into this one. And for $2.39, I'm not going to stress about finishing it. I didn't get very far (only 20%... the stupid Kindle format doesn't give you page numbers), but even that far was enough to convince me that I didn't need to read any more. Grace suffers from SNS in the worst way. I couldn't believe how clueless she was! Going into this book, I knew we'd be dealing with paranormal creatures of some sort, but I wasn't exactly sure which ones. But it soon became glaringly obvious that we were dealing with werewolves. Well, glaringly obvious to everyone except Grace. For crying out loud... The first time we saw the weird dog, I knew. Then there were the scratches on the walls in Daniel's apartment, as if "someone had been keeping a large dog" in the room. And then there was the time when Grace was recounting an episode of abuse in Daniel's family, and she heard someone get hit and then "a whimpering, doglike cry". Grace may be stupid, but please... give the reader a little more credit. The hints don't need to be that obvious.
Is it too much to ask, in this day and age of YA books, for a heroine who isn't completely in the dark? It's as if all of these heroines exist in some parallel universe where YA paranormal fiction doesn't even exist. Because if Grace had read as many of these books as real teenagers do, she wouldn't have been so frustratingly clueless.
The final straw for me, though, was the casual use of a clinomorphism for OCD. For someone like me, who truly suffers from the condition, I found it completely offensive. Very few things anger me more than someone who casually throws out the term without stopping to consider what it really means. For someone who actually has the disorder (because that's what the third letter in the acronym stands for), seeing the word so casually thrown about is akin to a character calling someone a "retard" and not getting called on it. Now you know. Please stop using "OCD" as a synonym for tidiness or being anal about having your socks in a row. It's not the same thing.
Based on what I did read, here are my ratings. The writing itself wasn't the worst I've seen, but it wasn't a literary masterpiece, either. Maybe the pace and the characters got better... but I don't care at this point. For me, it was completely unoriginal and the foreshadowing was too heavy-handed for the story to be enjoyable.
Overall: 1.2 out of 5