Thursday, February 21, 2013
ARC Review: The DIfferent Girl
Dutton Books, 2013
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I just finished reading this and I'm not really sure what to say. This is definitely a more quiet and contemplative novel than what I usually read. That can be a really good thing for a certain kind of reader but I'm not sure I'm that reader. I finished and I have so many questions, which I think is what Dahlquist wanted. But as a reader, I wanted concrete answers and am left unsatisfied.
The book takes place on an island with four nearly identical girls and their two adult caretakers (for lack of a better word). Those four girls look the same except for different hair color and slight personality differences (our narrator seems to be a bit more willful and one of the girls dreams while the others do not). Then one day, while exploring, our narrator Veronika stumbles across a shipwrecked different girl who inadvertently precedes some significant changes. I don't want to share too much because the pleasure of the novel relies on unraveling (some of) these mysteries as you read.
It's a quieter, more contemplative novel than most YA out there, which is good and bad. It is good because it helps distinguish this book in the very crowded category. But it was bad for my experience because I expect more action and more drama in my YA and I felt that this just didn't deliver. It is also possible that this book leans too heavily in the science-fiction direction, a genre I don't tend to like. I love fairy tales and contemporaries; this is neither.
Another problem for me was the characters, all of whom were kept an arm's length away. When I read, I tend to want to identify with the main character, either because we're both sisters, we're both good students, we're both readers...something in their personality or the anxiety they're feeling. I didn't have that connection here and while I was able to finish the book (it's pretty short), I probably wouldn't have had it been longer.
Overall: A change of pace from my usual reads but not one I'd recommend to people with similar reading taste.
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