Posts Tagged With: ya review

YA Book Review: Instructions for a Broken Heart – 2 of 5

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

instructions

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sorry, folks, this is not good. I know some of you loved the book, but this was cringe-tastic. It’s like Culbertson took all the bad parts of a YA novel and shoved it all into a beautiful package.

This book has so much potential! A recent break-up, an Italian vacation, twenty dares from a best friend – I love the premise. The execution was total blerg.

Where do I begin? Let’s start with my biggest frustration – the trip. That was the most boring, god-awful travel log I have ever read. Seriously, how do you write a book about a trip to Italy and focus only on the bad parts? I’d done a trip like what Jessa experienced in this book and I know what Culbertson was getting at – school trips abroad are generally terrible ideas. You sit in a boring bus all day, you barely have any time at locations, etc. I don’t want to read about it. I don’t need to see all the nuances of why traveling in a group sucks.

This book, to me, is just littered with Culbertson’s life experiences. It’s so obvious to me that each experience Jessa has Culbertson likely had in life. I’m all for authors drawing on true experiences, but this is just too much. All the referrals to specific musicals and games and whatnot – it was all too exact. Television shows and movies were just too alienating; as a reader I didn’t know a lot of the pop culture that was mentioned. None of it had meaning to me and so I just felt like I was listening in on a young girl’s (boring) life.

And then, of course, my main issue. Every single character needed to just get over him or her self. I know people are self-absorbed at that age but I don’t want to read about it in the extreme. Jessa’s pity party went on for far too long – blah blah you loved him blah. Based on everything we learned from Carissa, he obviously sucked, so you shouldn’t have loved him. And this whole “being too busy” thing was just lame. And can I mention how apparently everyone in their brother was poet or a singer? I know they were drama kids, but still.

I don’t know, it seems like very little in this book rang true (what’s up with Jessa having like six incredibly close guy friends? And everyone on the trip hooking up? What was up with her telling a new story for her scar all the time?) or, when things did ring true, I didn’t want to know (I don’t need to know how bored you are on the bus. I really don’t,)

It’s not my intention to be completely mean.  I did finish it, after all. The writing was decent and there were some really nice lines but I just couldn’t get lost in it. So not worth it.

Categories: Put Downs, Travel, Weekly Review, Young Adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

YA Book Review: Impluse – 3.5 of 5

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

impulse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I checked this book out from the library, I didn’t bother to crack the cover. I just went on my merry way. When I finally opened the book I almost snapped it right shut – I had no idea it was written entirely in verse (or close enough). I’ve only read one book in this style before, long ago, and it didn’t sit too well. I decided to keep an open mind, though, and jumped in. Overall, I’m glad I did. This book is a solid 3.5 with enough oomph to round up instead of down.

I could have done without that style of writing and just gone with the prose, but it worked. It focused more on the characters and their thoughts and required less regarding the setting and other goings-on (not that those were absent). I also enjoyed the way the three characters’ pages actually looked different. It was an easy way to tell apart the voices (which was needed, since otherwise everyone was similar in their manner of speaking).

This book is angsty to the extreme. It’s necessary, a book about three characters who failed at suicide is bound to be angsty, but it’s still good to know coming in. Despite all their problems, I found their ability to move through the Levels of their care too easy. This book is pro-medication as a fixer; I know meds help many people, so I’m not knocking it, the book just makes the opinion obvious. The workers at this group are strangely oblivious – maybe that’s another statement being made as well. I think by the end we as readers all knew something was going to happen (this type of book couldn’t be all happy-go-lucky, after all) but that unfortunately made the “happening” dulled.

Despite a few of my misgivings, I think this is a very solid YA book about many difficult subjects. My absolute favorite part of the book is how these three characters see each other. I love, love, love how Hopkins did this characterization. All three people, of course, hate themselves in some way (who doesn’t, especially as an adolescent?) but they all see each other as wonderful. They all see the others as strong and capable and beautiful. It’s a great message and woven in very subtly.

Overall – not bad and it’s worth it to try something new!

Categories: Pick Ups, Weekly Review, Young Adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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