Reviews by Amanda G.
The narrator of this book, Bruce, has an obsession. He lusts over Aviva, a new student at the elite Auburn boarding school. He yearns for the highly sexualized relationship he imagines Aviva has with her boyfriend, Seung. Bruce is a Holden Caulfield wannabe as a narrator. The same broken stream of thought. Is anything real? How much exactly is Bruce's imagination? It's difficult to tell in this novel. Bruce mimics Holden in his feel, but Holden was never this crass.
At the end of the novel, you have a sketchy idea of what the real events that transpired between Aviva and Seung. The rest is high school gossip and Bruce's frenzied imaginations of what sex is like between the couple.
This book is so good that I’d have to quit my job and just read if all books were this level of entertaining. The heroine is a believable teenager whose actions are driven by the need to survive after a vampire attack. Unlike other heroines in the genre, Tana is not moping around or giving up on life. She makes tough decisions, gets beaten up, betrayed, but keeps pressing on. Nothing is going to take her down without a fight. Black’s book is action packed from the first page until the end. It does not look like there’s going to be a sequel or a series which is a relief. The book ends on a perfectly epic note which just feels so right. How many books can you say that about?
The novel follows a general pattern where every other chapter is set in a different time period. In one, the heroine, Kate, is in Paris in 1916. In the other chapters, Kate lives in New York City in 2008. How is she living in two places at once? The answer at 206 pages in is still unclear. The main plot of this story is about two lovers whose bond is so great that it’s love at first sight – no matter what time period they find themselves in. While I’m disappointed that it’s got the by now blah template of the handsome, ultra rich guy being immediately smitten with the younger, less wealthy lady, I am enjoying the book. The instant true love is not being sold to me, but I’m burned out on that plot as a reader. However, this book is a page turner. There’s plenty of mystery and Kate is dealing with some real world struggles as a woman trying to make her career on Wall Street. When Kate drives up to Fairfield County, I appreciate the authenticity of the writing as I recognize those “rambling stone walls” which run the wooded hills of Connecticut’s forests.
Eisenberg is a comedian by trade. You can tell by the quick, snappy way she turns a sentence from ordinary to giggling aloud funny. I pulled her book off the shelf on a whim -- who can resist looking at a book with this title? -- and found myself giggling aloud in the non-fiction section. The book starts off on a high discussing Ophira's first kiss and her quest to shag anyone who caught her fancy. She finds little to be embarrassed about in her adventures. Then in the middle, the book stops being funny and slows down to a drag. She's in her twenties and floundering around with what to do with her life. She then discovers comedy and that sleeping around isn't fun anymore. Still, she's determined to avoid love and commitment. The title gives away the ending. This book is a quick read for the beach and allows you to step into an entirely different mindset with ease.
I had high hopes for this novel. The cover is intriguing as is the book jacket's summary. The heroine, Li Lan, is approached by a neighboring family to become the wife of their dead son. She then becomes haunted by the dead man’s ghost. I had to stop reading the book after nine chapters because of:
1) The main character reeks of "virginal sweet girl." You can almost peel her off the page with just how much of a "good girl" she is. This would be fine and well if she or any of the other characters were anything more than caricatures. Unfortunately, at this point in the book, no one is any deeper or interesting than a piece of paper.
2) The author has a habit of telling rather than showing. Instead of weaving historical knowledge and background seamlessly into the story, she'll take an aside and go on for several paragraphs about the history of a particular item/area. The author’s method takes you completely out of the story.
3) The story is boring. Nine chapters in and nothing is happening?! The supposed hook of the first chapter still hasn't materialized into anything substantial. The secondary complication of Li Lan finding real love-- which I could see compelling this novel forward -- is also fizzling without passion.
On GoodReads, readers mention that the novel has a very slow start. Well, I have a pile of books to read and no time for slow starts, so this one was returned posthaste!