Well, it has certainly been awhile. I have been reading like crazy but certainly not blogging. I wish I could say it was because I was working in something cool, but honestly, I just couldn't be bothered with anything that smacks of effort. Hopefully, I will be able to pull myself out of this writing funk and be more regular about posting.
I love Maggie Stiefvater's writing, and I think that it lends itself well to the genre of magical realism. However, character and plot-wise this book does not stand up to her other books. Phrasing wise it does. If you like your prose to carelessly jump back and forth over the line to purple and back again (*raises hand forever) this book is for you. If this does not sound like you stay clear forever because you will spend 456 pages asking yourself what the actual fuck is going on. It is important to note that while most of the main characters are Mexican-American, this is not an #ownvoives book. Nothing jumped out at me as problematic, but I am not sensitized and could very well have overlooked it. YMMV so this is something to consider. Can I tell you what happens in this book? Not really but it was pretty, and I shipped all the things.
What I loved about this book was this it took the "bad boy" trope and stood it on its head. Dylan is the protagonist rather than the mysterious boy seen from afar. We see his frustrations, his fears, and his loyalty. It is interesting that Dylan doesn't actually make that many bad choices and yet his life and control over it continues to crumble around him in spite of that. I found his illiteracy and yearning for poetry a painful metaphor for all the boys caught up in the criminal justice system. There is a romantic element but although it didn't annoy me it also wasn't the strongest part of the book. It also asks some interesting questions about fate, self-fulfilling prophecies, and the eternal debate of nature vs. nurture.
This was a reread. Seventeen-year-old Cayman has always been told to stay away from rich boys, but a chance meeting at her mother's doll shop with Xander makes her question everything. I like Cayman's sense of humor; I love the fact that they bond while trying to figure out what they want their futures to hold. Cayman doesn't let Xander get away with his nonsense behavior. I think that the real reason that this couple would work is that they genuinely bring out the best in one another. This is YA at it's best and by far my favorite book by Kasie West.
I will be honest I bought this for the cover and for the title. The premise was very cool, but the writing was distractingly underwhelming. The characters are beautifully diverse, but it felt as if the diversity was a costume rather than part of who they were. My main complaint is that we are in at least four characters heads and I was not able to tell one voice from another. Which made it almost impossible to differentiate one character from another. This of course made the book very confusing and frustrating to the point where I had to ask myself why I was spending a Saturday afternoon fighting with a book. Thus I had to DNF this one. Looking at the reviews on Goodreads I take it that this is a love it or hate it kind of a book.
Gaze upon this cover and try to tell me you don't want to buy it. For a book about food and cooking, there was not enough time spent describing the food. Seriously, I could have done with about a hundred pages more of food description. There is a discussion about consent and one point that I both really appreciated and that stood out from the book as "The author thinks that a discussion of consent goes here" rather than feeling like a naturalistic conversation. The biggest problem with this book is actually the fact that Carter, the main character, is kind of terrible. Mean, overly dramatic, and way too easily angered. I ended up reading on in spite of her rather than because of her. On the pro side, this book has beautifully represented diversity, and Reid is adorable and infuriating. More about him please.