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review 2014-07-26 13:00
Fearscape by Nenia Campbell
Fearscape - Nenia Campbell
You don't have a choice.

Such a simple thing. A choice. This or that. 

I've been weaving my way through several NA books lately where too many of the male interests are way too stalkerish. And that shouldn't be a problem. Well, it is, because all of them are romanticized. So let me rephrase that. That wouldn't be a problem if they weren't romanticized. Because in reality, being stalked is not romantic. It is not erotic. It is not sweet. It is not pleasant. It is not funny. And, I can't stress this enough, it is not a joke. Being stalked is a invasion on one's personal life where the stalker doesn't necessarily even consider it's prey a human being. Being stalked is horrific and terrifying and all the synonyms for these words. And I am so damn tired of the New Adult genre making these stalkerish tendencies something desirable.

Fearscape is not one of those NA books. This is the realistic story of the nightmare that is being stalked. And here's the thing: you don't have a choice. Val learns this lesson. When it comes to stalking, you have no say in what the stalker will do to you. There's always the police, but without proof or enough suspicion this person may harm you, there's often not much they can do beforethings go really bad. As a fourteen year old girl, Val has much to learn, and not just how to survive high school. No, Val's stalker is making her life uncomfortable and it shifts into a game of sorts where only one participant knows the rules. 

I have such a hard time putting down my emotions in words regarding this book. Fearscape is not an easy read. It's not sweet. It's not funny. It's real. It's spot on with Val's innocent character and her reactions toward stalking. I think that's what Fearscapedoes so well. It creates a frightening atmosphere that exists in reality where stalking occurs. The transformation Val goes through between the first hints of being watched to the very end shows how people can be manipulated without knowing about it themselves and how being stalked changes a person. Okay, my feelings can pretty much be summed up this way: I believeFearscape is a book every youth should read to understand the severity of stalking.

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review 2014-06-27 00:00
Fearscape - Nenia Campbell I know without a doubt in my mind why some people hate this book. Although it's classed as an YA novel, the subject breached was far from it.

Campbell dives in obsession with such force it leaves the reader stunned. The need to possess, the need to control, while tempting the mind with the one true fantasy. A love so strong that will warp your perception of the world. A love so powerful it will endure the tests of time and separation. A love so focused that nobody will ever compare to that person that makes your heart beat faster.

Why did I compare it to the one true fantasy? Simple, human nature.

The term 'Alpha Male' says it all. We all know it. How many times did we pick up a book, that promises a dominant, strong, doesn't take no for an answer, powerful male that swoops in and shatters all control the female has over her life, to exert his own? To need her to that extent, the very thought of losing her makes him want to take on the world?

It's tempting to a human mind, to become someone's everything. To be so valued, special, distinguished from the rest.

So the answer is simple. Many, many times.

The only difference between books that sends masses gushing and this one? Packaging. The ingredients stay the same. It becomes so easy for us to entertain ourselves with dominance and submission, as long the edges are more sharply defined. If our Alpha Male had a clean cut job, and was in the process of saving the girl from some baddies? I don't think it would be as shocking as a young man who we don't know much about. Lurking in the dark. We do tent to gravitate to clear moral simplicity. The yin and yang. The black and white. All the while forgetting the well known truth - that life is very rarely defined in such a way. I love the ballsiness of swimming in darker waters, knowing full well you will face criticism. I love the ballsines of succeeding to get to the other side...

The main factor of controversy in this novel is Val's age. She is only fourteen. That fact alone made many give up on this particular novel, saying it glorifies child abuse. Would they feel slightly different if she was perhaps ten years older? The thing is, if we turn our backs on something, it doesn't make it less real. The true need to own or possess a human being is not a product of a sound mind. It never was. This is only a novel, a novel doesn't scare me. What scares me is that there are people out there in the real world, that know exactly who Gavin is, because they feel the same urges themselves.

Haunting, disturbing, chilling, creepy....Those are only some of the words describing this novel, and they are all correct.

Campbell has a way of rattling the hornet's nest. Brave enough to touch the subjects that we all know are out there, but not discuss in general unless with the selected few. Raw emotional desire, need for sexual conquest, first stirrings of lust in that delicate age between a child and an adult.

I have read a few of her works and seen that she seeks to unsettle, rather then soothe the reader. Challenge you out of your comfort zone. She writes multiple genres, and they all have the unique way of inviting you further into her world. Love it or hate it, I have no doubt in my mind we are witnessing the rise of a master.
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review 2014-05-18 13:44
Fearscape - Nenia Campbell

Valerian is a young, rather naive teenager who is being stalked. Even though it's fairly obvious who her stalker is from the get-go, she lives in a world of denial about it. Maybe it's because of her young age (she's fourteen and admittedly innocent), that she cannot reconcile the high school TA of her art class to the threatening fb messages and disturbing "gift" in her gym locker. The imagery of a chess game and the hunter stalking its prey is very appropriate, but to this reader, another type of character is brought to mind. Lolita.

For a good part of the book, Val fights her gut feeling that he is dangerous and intends to harm her despite numerous warning signs. Her friend Lisa, flat-out tells him stay away and lets her know his nick name- "Hit List Guy". But like Lolita, Val is attracted to him. She even pursues him to an extent.

...I've been hunting you this whole time, waiting for you to stray from the path. But you-you came into the woods after me."

While Humbert Humbert of Lolita is quite a bit older than Gavin, Gavin speaks like someone in his thirties rather than in high school. Part of the reason Val can't believe her stalker is Gavin is due to the fact that on Facebook he sounds like an older man or someone from a different time period. That's where the similarities end, though. While Humbert Humbert tries to blame Lolita for his pedophilia, Gavin is completely cognizant of what he's doing and what a threat he is to Val. As far as I can tell, he never lies about his intentions. Even when she asks him directly about Facebook, he gives a non-answer, instead of a deceitful one. This reader tends to believe that he would have admitted to being a stalker if Val had asked him directly.

The adults in this story are quivering balls of ineptitude. Their absence/negligence gives Gavin free reign to hunt Val. (view spoiler)

Of course all of this is a great set up for a sequel. This book is a definite page turner and much like a horror movie, I found myself screaming at Val. "Don't go in there! Stop! Do you want to die?" The cover design of the chessboard is perfect. Moral of the story-listen to your gut, and your friend, Lisa.

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review 2014-05-04 00:00
Fearscape - Nenia Campbell Disclaimer: I won this book on Booklikes. However this did not taint my perception of the book. Also thank you, Nenia!

"People only picked the pretty, sweet-smelling flowers. The ones with thorns were left alone."

Valerian Kimble is fourteen years old. She's an artist, a dedicated runner and is too nice for her own good. For some odd reason, she catches the attention of Gavin Mecozzi -- and he weaves a trap she can't escape.

I absolutely adored Val's character. She might be a bit of a Mary Sue, but the fact that she's fourteen gives her leeway to be so. She's still chid-like and naive, traits you shouldn't forget or overestimate whilst reading this book.

Ms Campbell has weaved a story of deception, of betrayal and romance gone wrong so well that I finished this book in one sitting and look forward to reading the next one. The only slight problem I had with the story was Val's age -- a fourteen year old dating an eighteen year old just seems wrong, but I quickly understood why she had to be so young and in the end it worked incredibly well.

The story kept me on my toes the entire time and everything Val felt, I did too. She's an incredibly easy character to like and sympathise with and I saw a lot of my fourteen year old self in her. The emotions I felt were the same I would feel if my younger sister was in the same position.

Gavin Mecozzi, YOU'RE A FREAK.

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text 2014-05-01 11:05

I'm giving away 10 copies of Fearscape, newly edited. ;)




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