Author: Joanna Wiebe
Type: Young Adult
Tea: Roobois Chai, tastes good and you enjoyed it, but not quite like you expected and maybe not as good as similar teas.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
*Warning! Here Be Spoilers!!*
I received this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I had a really hard time rating this novel. At some points I'd give it a one, at times I would give it a 5. So I settled for a 3, right in the middle. When I saw this novel posted on NetGalley I was really intrigued and had to have. I was super excited when I was approved and couldn't wait to read it. But the first few chapters really threw me for a loop. I wanted to write this review without spoilers, but this is gonna be a hard one to discuss without them. So only read if you don't mind the spoilers or don't really plan on reading this, I don't wanna ruin anything!
I felt like the first few chapters were really rushed and just jumps right into the story. Once you learn the plot twist (which I'll discuss farther down) it makes more sense. There was no way for there to be back story or prior knowledge. So I'll forgive that. But some of the characterization is really weird. I get that the headmaster is supposed to be bizarre, but the way some things were handled and discussed was uncomfortable.
So Anne is a student at a school called Cania Christy and it's a prestigious private school where everyone is working hard to win The Big V. "WTF?" you might be saying. Don't worry, it's just the valedictorian spot. Even though it sure doesn't sound like it. You also get some other weird acronyms thrown at you that they don't explain until a few chapters in, but once that's figured out it's a little easier to follow.
There's a pretty serious case of insta-love in here between Anne and her neighbor, Ben. It didn't bother me too much. And later when you learn they have a connection from way back (a kind of morbid connection) it makes it a little easier to understand.
So most of the first part of the book is a lot of cryptic clues and slutty, popular girls that make Regina George look like a Cabbage Patch Kid. But you do start getting clues as to what this place it. I finally put it together when we learn Ben's back story. He discusses the death of his sister and mom. All of a sudden I remembered that EVERY story told by this kids as to how they got into the school involved something dangerous.
Uh. What...THEY'RE ALL DEAD! It's like Lost-lite.
So that just makes The Big V even more important, it's a chance to live again.
So I really enjoyed the overall plot and idea of the novel, it's different than anything I've read and I'm curious to see where she goes with it (especially since Anne is in a coma and not actually dead). What I didn't like was how she handled some of the minor characters and the filler. Some of it was really annoying and silly. Some of the characters I just didn't get. The twist at the end though of who the Headmaster is was really creepy though. Also the involvement of the community was interesting. I liked the historical aspect she threw in there.
Overall an intriguing read, but can be difficult to get through at some points. Once you get into the meat of it it's a very quick and interesting read. It had many first book syndrome symptoms, so I'm hoping the second one can cure itself of them. We'll find out!
If you're looking for a different take on YA, check this out!