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review 2014-07-27 00:00
Push
Push - Claire Wallis If you read the reviews this book has quite a bit of hype, describing it has a "different" from your typical NA book. There are some elements that make it different-- mainly the fact that the hero may or may not be a serial killer. I'm not sure it's as genre bending as it is made out to be. I read it from start to finish in one sitting, which is definitely something to recommend it, but that doesn't mean it is particularly original. This is a romantic suspense book marketed as a New Adult. Both the hero and the heroine have tortured pasts, which is the usual NA fare, but with the added element of a completely unreliable hero.

It's an engrossing read and while there is a "cliffhanger," not only do you know from page one exactly how the book will end, it is pretty easy to predict as you are reading how our couple ends up on the bridge at the end. I will probably read the next book, but I don't NEED TO KNOW what happens, because at least to me, it was pretty obvious what is going to happen next.

This book reminds me a bit of "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn, because the author is trying to keep you guessing throughout. It doesn't succeed as well as that book novel, but it was fun to read just the same.
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review 2014-07-11 05:48
Review: Push by Claire Wallis
Push - Claire Wallis

I think this is one of those few reads I don't need too much time to meditate on what I thought about it in the end, and this will end up being a short-ish review because honestly: I'm tired of this. This book represents one of the reasons why I tend to detest new adult - not so much in totality, because there are awesome writers in the genre writing about awesome things, but for what some choose to promote with it - it's utter B.S. to tell you the truth. And it's little wonder why people get so angry, horrified, or disgusted with it. I get on one level that this age group/genre wants to target people's emotions - make them feel rage over "ragey" events or horrified over horrific events - but this isn't the way to do it. Not at all. If you're choosing to write about people's lives - however messed up they may be - you have to take responsibility for conveying the reality and what it entails. If you take the reality of this book - and its overarching statement and manipulations for drama - it's really horrible. And I'm not a reader who's buying into the melodrama or the manipulations for what it's choosing to show. I detest it, to tell you the truth. I really do.

What led me to this book was just the sheer number of people who praised this book for what it offered. And for me, you know - I decided to try it in good mind. Claire Wallis isn't a bad writer at all - matter in point, I think some of the writing - in technical turns here - was okay. Granted, to a certain point, I would've said that despite the fact I didn't like the characters, what they represented or the way certain situations were conveyed, I followed it because I was able to see what the characters were thinking and feeling in a given point in time. The character intimacy was there. It was largely inconsistent with voice and tone in spurts, but in certain points, it did manage to work for me. Unfortunately it didn't stay that way through the entire novel. More on that in a little bit.

Part of the problem I had with "Push" to start with was that it was overloading so much in the vein of drama for what the characters lent. It was like these two characters were *too* messed up to be believable. I see this in a lot of NA novels, there's really no sense of palpable balance to make them realistic. I think good stories come out of a balance: you don't make them too "good" or too "bad" - you have a balance of conflict and sympathy/empathy. With NA, many times, it's stuck in the same rut for descriptors and "types" of people it shows. All of the characters have tragic pasts, all of them participate in sexual shaming, all of them have tattoos, etc., do whatever follies or fallings out in the scheme of college aged adults are perceived to do whether in college or just coming out of it. And I'm not saying that these things don't happen or don't characterize *some* in this age group to some extent, but do NA writers have to take from the same template EVERY. SINGLE. TIME? For EVERY narrative? It doesn't do anything for the scope of branching out the genre, and it really does sour the experience for people expecting something unique, different, or even something they can relate to.

But believe it or not, this wasn't my primary problem with this novel. Nope, I put aside my expectations and said "You know what, despite how familiar this feels to me, and how frustrated I feel about this sameness, I'm going to stick with it to see where it goes."

To say a bit about the main story: we have two very "messed up" protagonists at the reins in this novel. We start at a point where the heroine's on a bridge at the mercy of a hero who's wondering why he's doing the things he's doing, and then it branches off into the story from there.

Emma's a 20-something young woman with a very troubled past. I listened to her story without judgment, but it hurt to read about, and I think that was the intention. From her father's premature death to her mother marrying an abusive and manipulative jerk (Michael), to her brothers' neglect and their direct/indirect participation in her learning how to give blowjobs at 12 years old and being raped at 13 at a frat party in which her brothers told her to expect to "put out". Then being humiliated in front of various boyfriends by Michael, her mother's constant turmoil at being powerless up until her untimely death. I had to read Emma's account in small doses because it felt like emotional overload - and it really wasn't portrayed with the kind of care or sensitivity I think was needed to show them. Emma's voice is frank and honest, but at the same time - I don't think the perspective point was mature enough for portrayal to handle those heavy themes. The narrative trades between different timepoints in her life, and the present day.

In the present day: Emma meets David - a guy with a troubled past of his own, but more shrouded in mystery. Both of them are blunt talkers and no-holds-barred in their relations, so they click. Their intimacy is palpable. Yet, David's not a guy with a clean cut past, and there are narratives here - presented in the vein of other female accounts, that suggest he's far more sinister in his intentions and previous relations than Emma even knows.

I knew what the vignette perspective points meant ahead of time. I guessed what David was from that measure. And I'd hoped the payoff would come in terms of Emma finding out who he really was and Emma being able to stand up to the facts associated with that.

That point came, but it didn't deliver. Instead, it ceded to one of the worst endings I've come across in this genre to date, and what disturbed me were not only the implications in its meaning, but also the way it was delivered. It's not even a genuine revelation, it's just emotional blackmail and B.S. just to keep you reading.

This part isn't the spoiler, so I won't put it under a spoiler tag: it turns out that David is a serial killer. He's killed other women - the vignettes through the narrative show that he has a certain measure of manipulation with each of his previous girlfriends. Emotionally drawing them in, asking them to prove his love for them, tying them up and "pushing" them to places where they drown and meet their respective ends. That's messed up enough, right? The vignettes give a decent snapshot of each of David's experiences with each girl, and there's a thriller/horror element to this tale that makes it a dark read. This had me at odds, but I thought Emma would see this eventually and that it could go a number of ways for development. It took a long while in the narrative for her to realize, especially with respect to facts she comes across right in front of her face about David's nature and reactions, that something's wrong with this dude.

But as usual, a typical NA writer ignores pertinent factual details to yield to the messed up "love story." Emma not only denies the details in front of her (i.e. being drunk in some measures, which causes her to look past these things), but she sticks with the dude and even justifies his actions.

The worst part (and this is the spoiler):

This narrative pretty much says it's okay for your lover to kill you as long as you let him do it to prove your love for him. And it's insinuated that Emma's dropped off the bridge to die. The story ends with David realizing that he's "crazy" and "messed up" - but what does that really mean to him when he's done this at least six or seven times before? What does this say about the casual, inaccurate portrayal of mental illness when people say he's messed up or turn the other way in the face of all of these things happening with Emma (a problem that really occurs throughout the narrative - as many events are turned a blind eye in Emma's sufferings for the sake of drama). And the narrative pretty much ends with the same measure it began - no threads tied, and a really cheap cliffhanger to lead into a potential other book.

(spoiler show)



In a word: NO. If you want to advocate violence against women in your narratives and promote them falling into this manipulative kind of mind game willy nilly for the sake of love, then that's not worth my time or my money to deal with, and I will speak wholeheartedly against it.

I'm done and over it, especially seeing it in this genre.

0 stars.

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley from the publisher.

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text 2014-07-11 04:21
Finished. Ye Gods, this was bad.
Push - Claire Wallis

Honestly, I could spoil the whole result of this book in one sentence, but I'm going to leave that for my review.  This was such a waste of time.  Zero stars.  Review coming, but as far as rants are concerned, this one will be short, because the spoiler will probably tell you everything you need to know about why I detested this book.

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text 2014-07-11 00:10
About 58% in
Push - Claire Wallis

I've been bouncing between books and busy with work lately as well as Camp NaNo (well over 22k words now - yeah, I'm serious), but this has been the bulk of my reading tor the past few days. 

 

I dislike the characters intensely, and the scenarios are ones that really make me angry as far as the melodrama's concerned.  But the author's doing an okay job at actually developing the characters for who they are, so I'm still reading it.

 

I have a feeling I already know the twist in this one though - and it's likely not going to end well (at least I hope not, because if it's going where I think its going, there's no way this will have a happy ending, and it would be a cheap shot to go in that direction and pretend like things will be a-okay. Then again...it's new adult. =/)

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text 2014-06-08 16:49
Author Claire Wallis Interview!

PushbyClaireWallis

Her Bio

Claire Wallis has penned hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles over the last ten years, with science playing the lead role in almost all of them. Though non-fiction writing will forever be her first love, fiction has unexpectedly swooped in, hooked her by the soul, and become her true love. As a result of this coup d’état, Claire’s writing career has made a complete U-turn, and instead of rocks, plants, insects, and microbes, she is now putting human characters in the lead.

 

 Enamored with the process of creating messy characters filled with imperfections and wicked inclinations, Claire believes that you don’t actually have to like a character to fall in love with them – a good story, after all, is best served with a hearty side of evil (just ask Disney). Claire’s first New Adult novel,Pushis scheduled for release by Harlequin MIRA in 2014. The story speaks to her appreciation of enigmatic male characters, perfectly capable of charming themselves straight into your unwilling heart. She enjoys writing about characters that are, at any given moment, both loathed and loved. You know, the ones that refuse to be forgotten.
 
 

Claire’s previous jobs include working at a limestone quarry, hawking vegetables at a farmer’s market, clerking at the dollar store, and convincing new mothers that they need to renew their subscription to that parenting magazine in order for their child to survive. She lives in Pennsylvania with her amazingly awesome husband and son.

For more info please check out her WEBSITE 

and don’t forget to follow on TWITTER

Our Interview

What does Push mean to you?

When I was a kid, I used to write short stories. They were just a few pages of hand-written words, but they were always about a young girl who was experiencing some kind of tragedy in her life. I remember one that I was particularly proud of. It was called Opposite Streams, and it was about a high school track star whose parents were divorcing, and their split was going to take her little brother away from her. I remember giving it to my father to read, just like I did with all my stories. When he handed it back to me, he told me that it was good, but then he added, “Why do you always write about bad things? Why don’t you write about happy things for once?”. I was in 8th or 9th grade, and I remember thinking, “Where’s the fun in that?? Nice things don’t make interesting stories.” I still feel the same way. Even as an adult I’m drawn to two kinds of books: ones that take me into a different culture through the lives of the characters and ones that take me inside of someone’s mind, someone who is VERY different from me. To me, the best books take your emotions places they seldom get to go in real life.

 

I had an awesome childhood, and back then, writing about “bad things” was a way for me to explore a life – and emotions – I had never experienced myself. I gave up writing short stories soon after my father made those comments, but not because of what he said. Because I just moved on to other things. In a way, I guess PUSH was my way of returning to all that. Writing this book allowed me to delve into someone else’s head and feel all the things that they were feeling. So to answer your question, writing PUSH meant an opportunity for me to create two people who hopefully will allow readers to experience something they never have before. To feel things that might surprise them. And perhaps to sympathize with someone they might find completely unsympathetic in real life.

 

What inspired you to write Push? The genesis of David’s character happened years ago. I wrote a page of his words into a notebook in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. David’s voice in PUSH is very different than his voice in my original notes, though he is the same person at the core. Those notes sat in the bottom drawer of my nightstand for several years, but I got them out when a lunch date with a friend turned inspirational. She encouraged me to make David’s words into a story, and PUSH is what came out.

Is anything based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Nope. The story is completely fictional. All the characters and events are imagined (though I do have a friend who’s mother would leave a blank check made out to “cash” on the kitchen counter every time she went out of town on a business trip, just like Emma’s mother does).

 

What books have most influenced your life? I use books as an escape from the familiar, as a way to mentally “run away” from real life. The books I choose to read are often better at enhancing my life than they are at influencing it. Two books that I have read over and over again are A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. I loved them both because they made me feel something deep and completely new.

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? My hope is not that the book delivers a particular message but that it delivers a series of emotions. I hope that PUSH makes readers think and feel and question what they believe is right. I also hope it opens up a dialogue between readers. That’s what I love about book clubs. I love being able to talk about a book with other people, to see what everyone else got out of the story. No matter how different the opinions are, it’s exciting to discover different views on any particular book. It’s thrilling for me to read reviews of PUSH (both good and not-so-good) because it allows me to get a better grasp on all the unique ways that people see David and Emma and this part of their story.

 

What was the hardest part of writing Push? Making sure the timeline added up. The sequence of events had to be just right in order to give readers a proper glimpse into the past while keeping the present David and Emma at the forefront of the story. Each chapter had to build on the ones before.

 

Do you have any advice for other New writers?  Since PUSH is my first novel, I’m not sure I’m fit to dole out any advice on fiction writing. It’s all pretty new to me. But what I will say is that if you love to write, write. And keep on writing until you get to the end. You’ve got to finish what you start. Then move on. I was very lucky in that I wrote PUSH, signed on with an agent, and connected with my publisher in a little less than a year. I don’t know much about the fiction publishing industry, but I do know that some people write 10 novels before they hook up with an agent. Realizing that rejection happens seems to be a pretty important step. I guess the thing to remember is that you shouldn’t let rejection stop you. Be the kid that asks 27 girls to the prom before one says “yes”. The point is not that he had to ask 27 girls, but that he gets to go to the prom.

 

Easton

CHECK OUT MY REVIEW OF PUSH

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Source: www.theblueowlary.com/author-claire-wallis-interview
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