NEW THIS WEEK…
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
My brain is on short circuit with him severing the rest of the world from existence. It’s just me and Alex and his hazel eyes, my emotional scars and the visible scars on his wrists. The wretched weight of Shelley High crashes in when he blinks and steps back, and with a wave, disappears into the flow sluicing through the halls.
Emma Gentry is still reeling from the unexpected death of her boyfriend Daniel when, months later, a stranger arrives at her school. Alex is mysterious, intimidating, and seems to have some sort of intense emotional, almost magnetic, connection to Emma. She’s blown away by his presence in her life, and unsettled by all of the ways that he reminds her of Daniel — even down to the flecks in his hazel eye. Despite their chemistry, Daniel has problems of his own, problems that began a few months ago when he had an accident and would have died if not for his surgeon father’s intervention, leaving him with scars all over his body, and strange dreams featuring Emma herself. As their feelings for each other develop, Emma is frightened by the familiarity and Alex has to fight to keep her and to find out what truly happened when he was revived from death.
This story had a really interesting premise — a modern-day retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with a romantic twist. It was downright frustrating, then, that — although revealed in the synopses — the characters didn’t figure this out until the last 75 pages or so of the book. That last section of the book was intense — dangerous, action-packed, exciting, and made me not want to put the book down — I needed to know how it ended! If only I could have said the same about the rest of the book!
The book begins in a deep melancholy as Emma laments Daniel’s death, and this is a theme that’s returned to time and again even as she meets and falls for Alex. It’s understandable, even if it is a bit melodramatic, but her lack of other character attributes make her distastefully Bella-Swan-circa-New-Moon-esque (yes, the one where Edward leaves her and she gets all emo and depressed). Alex is mysterious and interesting — we know he does martial arts and runs track; we know what kind of car he drives and some of his troubled background with his mother’s death and father’s work and how it all affects him. Even Emma’s friend, Bree, is adventurous, enjoys drama, and has a creative side. But Emma herself is so entirely vanilla, undefined, and characterless (we know that she’s a blonde who likes breve lattes and horror movies, but that’s about it) that her grief seems to define her.
The middle section of the book is devoted to their blossoming romance, and although Alex (the perfect YA-romance guy he is, of course) says and does a lot of really sweet things, it gets a bit tedious and long-winded, with lots of tension, build-up, and PDA (public displays of affection) until the plot finally turns back to the mystery involved. I get that the author wanted to build their connection, and I’m sure die-hard romance fans would eat it up, but I kept shaking my Nook and thinking “GET BACK TO THE FRANKENSTEIN STORY!”
Heads up: There’s quite a bit of suggestive talk early on in the book, as well as the use of a few cuss words and some violence. Near the very end is a PG-13-type teen sex scene that I would have preferred would have been omitted.
Overall: 200 pages of Twilight, 75 pages of Frankenstein