Michelle’s Review: September Girls by Bennett Madison


Michelle’s Review: September Girls by Bennett MadisonSeptember Girls by Bennett Madison
Published by HarperCollins on 2013-05-21
Genres: Adaptations, Dating & Sex, Fairy Tales & Folklore, General, Legends, Myths, Fables, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
two-stars
In September Girls, Sam is spending the summer in a beach town filled with beautiful blond girls who all seem inexplicably attracted to him. But that’s not the only reason why he thinks the Girls are strange. They only wear flats because heels make their feet bleed. They never go swimming in the water. And they all want something from him. Sam finds himself in an unexpected summer romance when he falls for one of the Girls, DeeDee. But as they get closer, she pulls away without explanation. Sam knows that if he is going to win her back, he’ll have to learn the Girls’ secret. Bennett Madison, author of The Blonde of the Joke, brings a mix of lyrical writing, psychologically complex characters, and sardonic humor to this YA coming-of-age novel about first love…and mermaids.

How I came to own and read this book: I went to a local author event, where there was a panel of four authors. Bennett Madison was one of the authors. I was interested in all the authors’ works so I bought one copy of each of their books. I got them personally signed. They then sat on my shelf for almost two years for no good reason. I have finally started reading them, with varying levels of enjoyment.

What I thought before I started: I had thought the premise sounded interesting during the author event, but then when I went on Goodreads and saw some of the reviews of other friends and readers, I was shocked. Many did not enjoy the book at all, not finishing it, critiquing it harshly for being misogynistic, too crude, etc. I was dismayed that I had already bought the book and had it signed because after those reviews, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. However, I decided to go into with as much of an open mind as I could given that I had already read other reviews.

What I thought after I finished: It has been so cold that it was nice to escape to the beach. I could really picture the beach, the weather, the sense of summer. It was fantastic.

I was at first very shocked by the presence and sheer quantity of curse words in the book, but decided that it was authentic given the point of view. However, I would say that while authenticity creates an original voice in a book, perhaps the cursing could have been less dramatic. While it is completely common for others to curse as much as Sam, the main character did, it’s not really that fun to read.

While I understand people’s thoughts on the misogyny or the cursing in this book, neither bothered me. I didn’t quite agree with the former and the latter felt realistic to me. Now whether it was necessary or appropriate for a book that was pitched as young adult is another question, one I don’t have an answer to myself.

The main character is a young adult, but I don’t think it’s a young adult book in the way that others are. It is perhaps better suited for ‘new adult’ or whatever.

My main complaints are not related to either of the above points. I just wanted to understand what was going on. Who were The Girls? What was the curse? What happened to Kristle? What happened to DeeDee? I read it all, and perhaps there were explanations within some of the more poetic pieces, but I couldn’t grasp at it myself. Which is unfortunate because I did want to like it more.

pj - michelle

Michelle’s Review: Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr


Michelle’s Review: Ink Exchange by Melissa MarrInk Exchange by Melissa Marr
Published by Harper Collins on 2008-04-29
Genres: Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy & Magic, General, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads
two-stars
Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow. Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life. The tattoo does bring changes—not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils. . . .

I read Wicked Lovely years ago. It was another book that I liked enough. But when I was discovering a new used book store, perusing the young adult section, the spine of this book and its title caught my eye. I didn’t really know that Wicked Lovely was a series, and didn’t know that Ink Exchange was part of it. I knew the author was the same but didn’t quite put it all together. But I was surprised to see that the book was signed by Melissa Marr. That was cool! So I bought it, despite previously having no intention of continuing with the series.

It was the book that had been sitting on my TBR the longest this summer so I finally got around to it. Unfortunately, because of how long it had been since I had read about Aislinn and the Summer Court, I could barely remember what had happened before the events in Ink Exchange. And this book definitely just jumped right into it.

To say I was confused through most of the book is putting it lightly. I understood Leslie well enough and her motivations, but I was confused about the larger plot. I mean, I think I get it, but I’m not sure. It was not easy to follow and I don’t know how much of it is because of things that were included in the first book or was simply not explained right in this book. I do wonder about the success of a book if someone picking it up cannot follow it without having read the book before it. Isn’t that how most series are discovered (or at least used to be discovered as we would wander the shelves of the library or bookstore)?

There were some standout characters (okay, well Niall) but it wasn’t enough to save the book for me. It was okay, but it wasn’t a fun read for me. Too much confusion and teen angst.

pj - michelle