edit: After so careful thought and reading a few other reviews I decided to drop my rating. There is just too much wrong with this book, and "pretty words" can't fix it. As on review stated very well: "fucking weird". The author wrote about college like she hadn't ever set foot on a campus. You don't get bullied for wearing sweats in college. Most people wear sweats in college. And Ariel, the MC, hallucinates or dreams more than any healthy person. Any time her boyfriend comes on to her, she "goes to the otherland". Wtf does that even mean? I enjoyed reading this book, but I hated every character. I had no sympathy for any of them. The final climactic scene was a mess that was impossible to follow. And there was an epilogue like something out of a weird fairy tale. I quit.
I'm too tired and in pain for a full review. Let's just break this down to the basics. The writing style was very pretty and fleshed out. But it had a few errors, like using the same word as both an adverb and adjective in the same sentence. That just makes things sound redundant.
The story itself was...uh....weird. It was trying so hard to be deep, and it ended up being whacked out, like it was written by someone on LSD. The main character spent 200 pages crying and starving herself and wandering the streets looking for her missing friend. When she isn't weeping like a maniac, she's being a horrible human being to all around her or just being a total shut in that's never seen the outside world. The description of college life seemed more like high school, with the way the guys bully and torture the MC. Stuff happens that goes unexplained, a lot of her behavior is never addressed, and even on the last page of the book, you are left feeling like maybe MC was high the whole time and the whole damn book was just a bad trip. Getting naked in a rose garden at night? Rolling in mud for strangers? Dancing on the beach with a bunch of strangers dressed as faeries? I really have no clue what I just read.
The mystery I had figured out by page 50. Not much of a mystery. All in all, fucking bizarre. But 3 stars because it was written so pretty.
How did I end up reading two books on teen suicide back to back? The inner flap of this book was misleading. The romance angle wasn't nearly as big a plot point as it makes you think. No, instead you are given a short, very unoriginal story full of flat, typical cliche characters. Nothing about this book was unique. Rich kids bullying the poor kid, and the poor kid is pretty but doesn't realize it. Her mother is verbally abusive, neglects her and starves her. And the level of bullying at this high school is beyond anything I have ever seen. It was more like middle school tactics: tearing up notebooks in front of teachers and the teachers just let it happen? What? Breaking into lockers and destroying everything inside and nobody witnesses this time-consuming process? Throwing mashed potatoes at a girl and getting it in her hair in the middle of a crowded cafeteria? We had teachers everywhere in my high school lunch room. Someone would have been suspended. This is the most ridiculous high school I have ever read about. Does no teacher pay attention? Lord, these kids skipped class more than I have ever seen. And nobody batted an eye.
Plus the mother. Now, I wrote about an abusive mother in The Dragon God's Son because I grew up with one. But this mother was something else. She starved, verbal abused and pretty much hated her daughter. But then a social worker says her daughter might be suicidal and suddenly she cares. That isn't how it works. That women would have kept on hating her child if she hadn't been caught. It was unrealistic.
The whole book was unrealistic. It was campy, cheesy, cliche, and plain dull. It sort of made it seem like your horrible bullied life will all be fine if you find a sexy boy to love you. Fuck that. Fuck you, book.
P.s. rape culture. Again, fuck you. There was no repercussion for rape. It was just shrugged off. That is not okay. I will never recommend this trash.
I really have no clue what to think of this. As a person who doesn't remember a time she wasn't suicidal to some degree, I can sympathize with these characters. I also feel for Finch because his family is so bent on turning a blind eye to the obvious mental illness he suffers from. My mom never admitted I was sick. When I was in a bleak or black mood, she would always say "it's just part of being a woman. Get over it." I went years without help and nearly drowned in the emotional turmoil before I got help. The thing that bothered me about this was how much of a bad influence Finch was on Violet while also being a good influence. I just feel like some of his behavior was dangerous. But bless his heart, he needed help. This book is on the local school district's required reading for high school, but I think PARENTS need to read this. Read this and talk to your kids. And pay attention.
I really don't know how to feel about this. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't all that great either. It was easy and fast to get through, but it didn't seem like a lot of action. It was a lot of minor events up until the very end. I liked most if the characters, but I would have liked more background on the other teens sent to Earth. Or more on the Cataclysm. A better description of the ships Walden, Phoenix and Arcadia. I couldn't figure out how they were "ships" but connected by sky bridges. There was a lack of world building when it came to the space parts. But the way Bellamy reacts to all the sights of Earth were touching. It makes me realize I take these sights for granted.