I was worried that the book club I'd attended had forgotten about me because I had to miss what would be been my second meeting, but I recently got an email about choosing between various books for their February meeting. Based on folks' responses, odds are good that the next book we'll be discussing is this one. I requested a copy via ILL so I could get started on it.
I like that it's short, and it sounds interesting, but I'm a little worried that it will include the sorts of animal stories that will make me cry.
Welp, that was... odd.
I won't post spoilers or discuss the ending too much, because hopefully others reading this for YA Book Club will chime in during the next weeks. For me, though, the "big reveal" felt incomplete. And I know this is, in part, because this book is setting up the ones to follow (hence the title); and it's hinted that all will be revealed in time. It just felt a bit flat.
There's also a class theme that pops up around the end, where the boys (who are obviously wealthy) say that the school they'll be attending is bad because many poor students go there; and that just felt yucky. There's a bit of elaboration to that idea in the reveal at the end, but as a former educator, it left a sour taste in my mouth. Schools are much more complex than that.
My final comment for now, and this is something I actually liked, is that the entire setting feels oddly creepy; there's an artificial rhythm to the way the neighborhood and school behave that may or may not be intentional, but I liked the surreal aspect of it. Kind of a Stepford vibe.
Will I keep reading the other books? The first chapter of the next book is included at the end of this one, and I'll read that, but I might not pursue the rest of the series. There's just so much else I want to read. But I can see myself picking up again between heavier reads, since this was ultimately light and fun.
My low rating is mostly because the protagonist was a doormat all the way through, with little change by the end of this first book. Also, because I find detailed descriptions of what people are wearing (down to brand names, which mean zero to me most of the time) to be lazy writing.
And Sang's Pokeboy collection keeps growing! We're up to... maybe 6 curiously hot and attentive boys? I know they mention there's seven of them who are friends, but the last one hasn't made his catwalk-ready appearance yet.
I know I'm poking a lot of fun at this book, but I'm also enjoying it quite a bit. There's some huge secret just always on the brink of bursting out like the Kool-Aid pitcher smashing through a wall, but I sense that will come more towards the end. The title is, after all, "Introductions," and this book is true to that theme.
I'm still really bothered by Sang's personality: clumsy, out of touch, painfully innocent, and willing to go along with anything the guys do because "I guess that's how friendships work because I've never had any and don't know better." To boot, there's the requisite "maiden in distress" scene earlier on, where Sang is nearly assaulted by another boy and in the end feels like she caused it. Nobody suggests otherwise, and the boys simply react by saying they're not letting her out of their sight again. Not cool.
The boys themselves don't bother me as much, because it's clear from the start that they're not all they seem to be, and that there's some ulterior bond and mission they all share. They're clearly protector types, and while that's also not necessarily my type of male character, they have their place in the story.
I just hope Sang comes into her own at some point. Right now, she reads as just an object to show how cool the guys are: someone constantly in need of rescue and surveillance, to the point where she's being guided in picking out her courses at school! I really want her to have more personality.