Look Behind You by Sibel Hodge

Look Behind YouPaperback, 238 pages
Published 2014 by Createspace

I’ll start by saying that Look Behind You does first person present tense in the right way. The writing was smooth and the story was fast paced, which is perfect for this particular style.

Look Behind You, other than that it never really comes together. The story could have been an interesting one, except the readers are hit over the head about what is happening right from the get go. Once Chloe, the main character, leaves her prison and talks to someone other than herself, you already know what is going to happen. I’m not even exaggerating.

As I continued on with the story, I kept asking myself, “It can’t be this obvious, is it? Maybe it’s going to pull a Gone Girl?” Unfortunately, it was that obvious and thus it was that predictable. This left me frustrated and incredibly disappointed, because the writing is good.

The author does try to bring in more suspects, but they never produce as much weight as the first one. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. I’ve read stories before where the ‘bad guy’ is in plain sight and the story ended up being great. The problem with how it’s handled here, is that the ‘bad guy’ is so over the top, so in your face, so unredeemable, that it took me out of the story.

I know that we’re meant to question whether or not Chloe is going crazy and if all of this is in her imagination, but that too isn’t done well. I might have felt like she was going insane, due to her not taking her pills, if the ‘bad guy’ wasn’t present as the bad guy. I do like unreliable narrators, but the first suspect is clearly the villain so you can’t ever really question Chloe’s sanity. She’s sane and he’s the bad guy. It is what it is.

Overall: If I had to describe this novel, I’d say that it’s a mixture or the movie Gone, with Amanda Seyfried, and the novel How to be a Good Wife, only the execution isn’t that good and there’s no real mystery surrounding who did it. The writing is good and Hodge kept me reading, but the execution and the characters just fell flat. A novel billed as a mystery-thriller needs to have those things in order for it to be good and unfortunately, this didn’t.

Novel was provided by netgalley

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The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian

The Wicked We Have DoneEbook, 272 pages
Published: March 18th 2014

Let me start by saying that I’ve read a few NA novels and all of them disappointed me; the romance, the guy who the main character loves, even though he’s a clear psycho, and the angst and drama about every little thing….it drove me insane. I’m still not sure what NA is, since it seems like YA with tons of sex and abusive guys, but I think it’s starting to find its footing. Hopefully.

So when I heard of ‘The Wicked We Have Done,’ I was excited. Here’s a NA book that seems to be more about the story instead of the angsty romance. And for the most part, it delivered on this point. I like the concept of criminals fighting in a system that judges ones morality. Do these group of misfits have what it takes to prove to themselves and the world that they’ve truly repented?

Enter the Compass Room. It’s a new simulation type room that will ‘test’ the inmates and mess them up psychologically. They’ll have to relieve their crimes and face what they’ve done. If they can do this for three months and show a level of change, then, and only then, can they be released and enter a bright new future.

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Pointe by Brandy Colbert

PointeHardcover, 352 pages
Published April 10th 2014

“I lie there alone and think of all that I’ve lost and I wait for the tears to come but they never do.”

I’ve been debating whether to give this a three or four. Normally, main characters that constantly think about guys, talk about guys, and dream about guys, are annoying. I always want to say, “Shut up! There’s more to life than guys!” I then start to question whether my high school life was boring, because I didn’t spend every waking moment talking about guys.

And yet, Pointe is a novel where the main character will obsess, analyze, and talk about two guys at ad nauseam. I mean, she goes on and on and on. But, because of what the plot, the great writing, and how broken Theo was, I felt bad for wanting to slap some sense into her. I still wanted to, but I felt bad. Really bad. So I’d probably give her a hug or something afterwards.

I think, that’s why I liked Pointe as much as I did, even though there were some issues with this novel. I can’t mention much about the story without spoiling things, but the book starts off with Theo finding out that her childhood best friend, Donovan, has returned home after being gone for four months. Everyone assumed he was killed, but still held some hope that he’d be alive.

When he returns, Theo is forced to look at her past and face some shocking truths about herself and Donovan. It’s not easy to read and it is disturbing, but what makes it so heartbreaking is Theo’s rendition of the events. Again, I can’t really say much without spoiling so yea.

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Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson

servants of the stormKindle Edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: August 5th 2014

Hmmm. I feel bad, because Servants of the Storm should be a book that I love. It has a beautiful cover, the synopsis promises some creepy mystery, and the main character is biracial, which is something you don’t see in a lot of YA.

And when I first started to read this book, I was really into it. The first two chapters were great and really helped set the scene for this creepy tale. Billie Dove, aka Dovey, and Carly are at home alone when hurricane Josephine rages through their small town. During this encounter, Carly is swept away and dies. Dovey is obviously heartbroken. She not only lost her best friend, but she lost her in a horrible way.

After a few episodes she experiences, Dovey is forced to take some anti-psychotic pills to help her calm down. It’s been a year since Carly died and Dovey hasn’t been the same since. She’s loopy and tired due to the pills, and her once bright outlook on life comes to a screeching halt. Her popularity, her friends and her grades all fall as she’s now known as the crazy one. All that changes when she sees Carly at their favourite coffee shop. Carly, who died a year ago. Carly, who shouldn’t be alive at all.

Dovey decides that in order to find out the truth, she needs to stop taking her pills. Her pills keep her loopy and she needs to be as focused as possible in order to solve this mystery. This helps make Dovey an unreliable narrator, as the reader constantly asks themselves, “Is this all true? Or is she just having another episode?”

All of this sounds great, which is why I’m disappointed that I didn’t like it as much as I should have. Despite some really well done scenes, I found the story to be lacking. And even though I liked that Dovey was unreliable, that didn’t stop me from finding her insufferable and TSTL.

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