Monday, July 22, 2013
Harlequin Teen, 2013
YA Paranormal Contemporary
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
On the one hand, I feel bad for this book because it might have been a victim of my feeling sick, which made me a little impatient with books. On the other hand, it has earned a wide variety of reviews from the very negative to the very enthusiastic so maybe the way I physically felt doesn't really affect anything. My general impression of this book is pretty meh. I didn't fall in love but nothing left me outraged. It just was.
This book has a lot of positives in its favor: it is set in Japan and cultural differences are conveniently noticed by American-born and raised Katie who initially feels like she will never adapt to her new life. Of course she does though, attending Tea Ceremony practices, learning kendo, making friends, and meeting a boy Tomohiro, who plays a pretty big role in changing her mind. After accidentally spying on Tomo breaking up with his girlfriend and seeing one of his drawings move, Katie becomes very curious to learn more, finding herself drawn to him despite the potential danger he represents.
Like I said, I wasn't really feeling this book. There was nothing to make me angry but I never found myself passionately drawn into it. I liked Katie well enough and strongly empathized with her feeling out of place especially as she had only a few months of frantically studying Japanese before her full immersion. The other characters were also fine although as she meets Tomo pretty early on in the book, he soon comes to pretty much dominate everything about her world. I would have liked more about her platonic friendships (also more descriptions of the food, which sounded amazing!)
The paranormal concept is really cool-Tomo has the ability to bring his ink illustrations to life, which is dangerous to him and those around him (like the friend who was once attacked by one of his drawings) as well as the fact that there are those who would use this power for evil. I'm a little unclear on the best way to harness the power as it seems more likely to hurt the drawer than anyone else. I also really loved that illustrations were included-this would probably be a beautiful book to own in hardcover.
One note about this e-copy: I was pleased to discovery that it did have a glossary at the end after struggling with some Japanese words throughout the text. If you pick this up, be sure to utilize the glossary as I was really wanting one before I stumbled upon it. That's the difficulty with e-books-it's hard to flip to the end!
Overall: An average read that takes advantage of its atypical setting.
A Reader of Fictions
Finding Bliss in Books
My Shelf Confessions
Young Adult Book Haven