Wednesday, May 15, 2013
ARC Review: September Girls
September Girls by Bennett Madison
YA Contemporary Magical Realism
Scheduled to release May 21
Source: Received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This book wasn't really on my radar until I noticed that Maggie Stiefvater had praised it, which immediately got my attention and made me want to check this out. Then the negative reviews started pouring in and I got nervous. I felt like I owed the publisher and author a chance though so I picked the book up and tried to look for the "magical realism" aspects I had read about and find some redeeming features but I am going to have to go in the negative category for this book as well.
The publisher is HarperTeen, an imprint with which I have had much success, finding their offerings compulsively readable. This title is more literary than commercial in my opinion and to my dissatisfaction. I could barely get through its boring non-plot. Adding to my distaste is how it conforms to my reductive view of a lot of modern literary fiction: to wit, a white male is obsessed with his magical penis because that is weirdly at the heart of this story. Compounding the plot problems was the language, which is extremely profane.
I did find some parts of interest like the strands of the relationship between the main character's parents but it was so haphazardly woven in that it was easy to glide right past. There is a bit of a love story but it's unlikely to appeal to romantics-I find it spectacularly unengaging.
In conclusion, do not pick this book up expecting a fun summer beach read as it is nothing of the sort despite what the cover might suggest. I cannot in good conscience recommend this to anyone although I am sure there will be people who have the exact opposite taste of me and love it (to each her own!) Somehow I managed to finish reading this book, probably due to a doggedness that does not let me quit easily.
Novel Sounds-discussed the magical realism aspect
Finding Bliss in Books-excellent negative review (also links to other great pannings)
Blkosiner's Book Blog-managed to come up with some good things about the book