Saturday, October 6, 2012

League of Strays

League of Strays by LB Schulman
3.5/5 stars
Amulet, 2012
274 pages
YA Contemporary

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm hoping that this doesn't bleed into my review but I'm a little cranky about the e-book's formatting. Usually I can view one page at a time but here the two pages were linked together so I the font was way too small to read on my tablet and I could only read it on my computer, which was tremendously inconvenient and therefore I took about a week to read what is a pretty short and fast-moving story. OK, I have that off my chest now!

I loved the idea of outcasts joining together to avenge their pain (who hasn't entertained a fantasy revenge or two?) but I was a little thrown by the cover, which says to me: "scary guy manipulates/forces naive girl into some bad plots" (I had only seen the cover in the thumbnail before and the menace wasn't noticeable.) This is not a completely inaccurate description of the plot as MC Charlotte is one of four people in thrall to Kade, whose instability is slowly teased out over the course of the novel. Kade's main attributes seemed to be that he was hot and rebellious, never my favorite characteristics, but sufficient to keep four followers for a semester.

Back to Charlotte, who I liked almost immediately, mostly because we both play viola (aka best instrument ever) and she had to change high schools. This leaves her (and the other strays) vulnerable to Kade's suggestions. He seems able to channel all of their anger and pain into plots against those who have wronged them. However those plans grow increasingly reckless and just plain evil, twinging at Charlotte's conscience until she can bear no more. I think as a more mature person reading the story with some distance between us, it was a little hard to see how long it took Charlotte to act. She realizes it's wrong much earlier than she gains the confidence to do anything about it, which just made me shake my head but at least she did end up doing something.

Overall: More of an intense contemporary (than my preferred light and fluffy) and definitely not for everyone-I can definitely see people not liking Charlotte and if you don't click with her as narrator, this will not be the read for you.

Cover: As mentioned, very clearly telegraphs that Kade is a sociopath; I also get a bit of a Twilight-ish vibe although I know that this guy is a brunette.



  1. That cover is just okay for me. I'm not digging that guy, he looks to spooky for me. Like he's a vampire, but a crazy one. ;)

    The story sounds interesting. Sorry to hear about the format. I hate it when that happens. I'm glad you immediately liked the main character. That's always a good thing.

    Great review.

  2. Thank you for reviewing my book! I am going to forward your comment about the e-book to my publisher. I think that should be fixed. Glad you liked the book and thanks for reading it.

  3. I got a little bit of a Twilight feel from the cover and since the book has that feel too, I think I'll skip it.

  4. I was so disappointed to find out this one wasn't about superheroes.

  5. He does look like a vampire! I wouldn't feel drawn to pick this book up based on the cover alone but your description of Kade and even Charlotte's behavior make me think I definitely wouldn't enjoy it. I am glad that you found some things to like about Charlotte though.

  6. I have heard very mixed things about this one. I love revenge plots gone wrong. I'm guessing Charlotte's thinks it will be small petty things and then as it gets worse she eventually finds the courage to stand up to him. I'm sure she should have done it sooner but peer pressure is an incredibly strong thing to stand against. Interesting book!


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