Showing posts with label sara shepard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sara shepard. Show all posts

Monday, May 15, 2017

10 Overhyped Books I Disliked in the First Half of 2017 feat. Caraval, Firstlife & more




Sometimes you're really looking forward to reading certain books because all your friends love them. Sometimes I genuinely question my friendship with these people after reading these books. Hm.



THE GRACES - Laure Eve
I've never read a book so racist and homophobic and biphobic in my life. It's beyond me how anyone can recommend this with a good conscience. And beyond that, it's TWILIGHT just with witches instead of vampires.

THE KISS OF DECEPTION - Mary E. Pearson
The hype absolutely killed this one for me. I was expecting excellence, looking at how much bloggers hyped this! I really don't know what to do with books that have no plot. Not my cup of tea.

ARMADA - Ernest Cline
Welp. This was hyped way too much and my expectations were way too high. I love READY PLAYER ONE, but not so much that I'd enjoy the same thing all over again minus world building plus homophobia and ableism.



STATION ELEVEN - Emily St. John Mandel
Not sure what happenened here - I had no idea this was going to be so literary and so much more talk than actual gritty dystopia. Not my cup of tea.

SHUTTER - Courtney Alameda
This has been hyped for years and I actually was really excited for a super scary read. Unfortunately I didn't like this for very arbitrary reasons and it went more into the gore than scare direction, which I just really, deeply dislike.

FIRSTLIFE - Gena Showalter
At some point, this book was everywhere! I really love afterlife setting, but this one was really awkward, poorly written, and just reads like every other dystopian book from the last 5 years or so. Super uncreative. No thanks.



THE MERCILESS - Danielle Vega
I just couldn't. Gore and racist micro aggressions and a non-existent plot were way too many things to complain about for me - I really really didn't enjoy this.

CARAVAL - Stephanie Garber
This is the disappointment of 2017. Nothing has been hyped more than this book, and I'm genuinely shocked with all the things that I found in this that are downright dangerous for readers.

THE DEAD HOUSE - Dawn Kurtagich
Sigh... another horror book whose scariest feature is the insensitivity. If you are picking this up looking for DID representation, don't.




THE AMATEURS - Sara Shepard
I've never read any of her PRETTY LITTLE LIARS books and was very curious to find out what the fuss is all about. But this one hit me hard with racism and sexism. Hard pass.


What books disappointed you in 2017?

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

[Review] The Amateurs (#1) - Sara Shepard: Rookie Detectives and Murder

In THE AMATEURS, Aerin and a bunch of amateur detectives are trying to solve the murder of her older sister.

What intrigued me: Felt like reading a thriller.

Awful Execution

THE AMATEURS has the strangest premise: A couple teenagers who are obsessed with unsolved crimes and frequent true crime forums decide to solve a murder case. What sounds really great in theory absolutely fails in the execution. Shepard's writing style doesn't really match the tone of the story, it's wonky at best, and never manages to convey the atmosphere you'd expect in a book like this. The multiple POVs neither work, nor are the characters fleshed out enough to make this story even remotely compelling. Had THE AMATEURS stuck with Aerin's POV alone, I would've liked this a lot more. The other characters are just messy to read about the writing feels stilted. This is definitely a subjective taste issue, if you've enjoyed other Shepard books in the past, you'll probably feel differently.

Another thing that bothers me about the execution is the fact that this is not a fast-paced thrilling narrative. It reads exactly like the premise sounds- amateurs working on a case, not knowing what they're doing. This is just not fun, and beyond that the whole reveal and set up of the mystery makes no sense whatsoever, and renders this story pretty much unrealistic and off-puttingly pointless. I also suspect that a ton of plot holes will open up when you're reading this for the second time.

Sexism, Racism, Exoticism

To a degree all I've said so far can be overlooked. It's really subjective. But the last nail in the coffin is just the horrible, extremely offensive portrayal of non-white characters in this. I hated every second of reading any description of non-white characters in this and seeing reviewers praise the "diversity" in this book is laughable at best, making me lose my faith in humanity at worst. I think there are a total of two non-white characters. One of the protagonists, Seneca, is biracial-coded. I don't think it's on-the-page representation, I certainly don't recommend that you pick this up because of this, and neither should this be on a list of books with biracial characters. She's described as exotic, with light eyes and light brown skin, and that's that. That's not how representation words, this is actually just exoticism.

Then we've got characters who homogenize Asians and make jokes about all Asians being the same, without having it addressed as racist, which renders me speechless.

Beyond that THE AMATEURS is dripping with sexism. From centering every female character's personality around their breasts, to turning the female characters pretty much just into sex objects and reducing them to their sexuality - this is as far from feminism as it gets.


Rating:

☆☆☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Sexism, racism, bad prose, and a plot that makes no sense - decide for yourself if you think that's worth picking it up. I certainly regret the time I spent reading this. Hours of my life I'm never going to get back.



Additional Info

Published: November 1st 2016
Pages: 320
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA / Thriller
ISBN: 9781484742273

Synopsis:
"I need some answers about my sister. Help…

Five years ago, high school senior Helena Kelly disappeared from her backyard in Dexby, Connecticut, never to be heard from again. Her family was left without any answers—without any idea who killed Helena, or why.

So when eighteen-year-old Seneca Frazier sees a desperate post on the Case Not Closed message board, she knows it’s time to change that. Helena’s high-profile disappearance is the one that originally got Seneca addicted to true crime. It’s the reason she’s a member of the site in the first place.

Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, she agrees to spend spring break in Connecticut working on the case with Maddy Wright, her best friend from Case Not Closed. However, the moment she steps off the train, things start to go wrong. Maddy’s nothing like she expected, and Helena’s sister, Aerin, doesn’t seem to want any help after all. Plus, Seneca has a secret of her own, one that could derail the investigation if she’s not careful.

Alongside Brett, another super-user from the site, they slowly begin to unravel the secrets Helena kept in the weeks before her disappearance. But the killer is watching…and determined to make sure the case stays cold."
(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read a decent YA thriller lately?

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