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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Book Review - Undone by Brooke Taylor

My rating system: here

From the back cover:

Kori, the "dark angel" of her high school, and Serena, just an average girl couldn't be more different. But when a seemingly chance encounter ignites their friendship, Kori draws Serena into her world, one where "living on the edge" is an understatement.

Then they are given an assignment to list five ways to tempt fate -- things they would never dream could actually happen. Serena doesn't take her list very seriously until a tragedy leaves her shocked, alone, and in possession of Kori's five secret wishes. Can Serena complete her best friend's list? Or will she leave Kori's dreams undone?

Reader's review: I ordered this book without even reading the plot or any reviews. I had seen the prologue on Krsitin Nelson's blog and was instantly hooked. See linky here for the prologue and Kristin's description of why it works.To say it in a few words - Undone is awesome. It has heart, soul, and a few life lessons thrown into the mix (though not overly obtuse until the end). It reminded me a lot of Looking for Alaska by John Green, the storyline being about a girl with a shining persona who falls too hard, too young and the remaining half of the book is all about how the survivor tries to find meaning behind it. Only in my opinion, Taylor does it a lot better than John Green (I hope no Green fans start screaming at me here). I got weepy at the end of Undone, not the case with Looking for Alaska. And while I give points to Green for writing a compelling male character, the characters and emotions felt in Undone seemed more real to me. Serena has lost her best friend, not just an acquaintance of a few months, and the mystery surrounding the night of her death is really a mystery - and vitally important to the main character's life. Not quite the case with LFA. And finally, Anthony....*swoon*. It's nice to see a normal guy in a YA book for once, not a stalkerish, "I love you even though I tried to and/or want to kill you" love interest. My overall rating? 4.5.

Writer's review: Voice: Awesomeness. Descriptions: Two thumbs up. Inventiveness: Two thumbs way up, with acronyms like BBFBBM (body by Fisher, brains by Mattel) how can you go wrong? The only thing I'd say negatively about the writing is that it reads a little slow in places. There were often chapter introductions where Selena goes into a long monologue before getting to the point and this sort of got old after awhile. It slowed down the pacing a lot, but fortunately just when I was getting tired of the monologues, the plot really started to pick up. Characterization also gets two thumbs up. Serena really develops as a character, going through many changes as she discovers who she is, and I really like the way that her friendship with Kori changes her even though Kori is dead through half of the book. Even one of the stock characters (a cheerleader of course) becomes three dimensional by the end. My overall rating? 4.5 Any writer can learn a lot about voice by picking this book up, and I highly recommend it for that reason alone.

SPOILER ALERT:  I feel like I have to add one little thing, and that's the mystery that gets resolved at the end. I can't believe that I didn't pick up on it sooner, there were so many clues. Yet it didn't come to me until the last 60 pages or so. Then I sort of felt like hitting myself on the forehead, Duh!! I'd like to believe it was the fine writing that kept me in the dark so long, but rather I think I was just sort of dense. In either case, I really loved it, loved what it said about Kori, and loved that the whole story came around in a complete circle from beginning to end. We should all strive to write a plot like that.


bclement412 said...

Awesome review! I think I need to pick this one up :D



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