Monday, December 10, 2012

Novel Thoughts #3: Pet Peeves

Welcome to the third edition of Novel Thoughts! Today we're discussing something I think everyone will be able to chime in on: book pet peeves.

Now, since there are a couple pet peeves that I think have been covered thoroughly by the book blogging community (I think the term "insta-love" is proof of that) I decided to talk about a pet peeve I don't think I've ever seen discussed before—it's when a character gets seriously hurt (as in, getting shot) and is in incredible pain in the moment, and then is fine when the scene is over.

I can't be the only one who's noticed this—I've read countless dramatic dystopians with war/government takeover scenes and someone will get shot in the shoulder or the leg (apparently those are the only two targets an evildoer can successfully hit). That's all nice and dramatic in that chapter, sure, but how often do you see that injury mentioned again? Where are the weeks of recovery? The mention of a scar? Something?

Check out the other Novel Thoughts posts below, and don't forget to submit a topic for us all to discuss together here!


So let me know in the comments if you've noticed this as well, or if you've seen realistic injuries in books!

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

"Everything was wonderful and then everything was awful."
My Life Next Door

A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

Something I've picked up on while reading is that, more often than not, main characters rarely have more than one sibling, if they have any at all. Coming from a big family myself, I've noticed that they don't pop-up in books too often. My Life Next Door is definitely an exception. The Garretts are a family of ten (count it, that's eight kids) and they were literally my favorite thing about this book. They're so realistic—it's not just a book full of big family stereotypes. The author does a fantastic job of bringing a real big family to life: there's differences from your normal family, definitely, but every moment isn't like a scene from Cheaper by the Dozen. The best part, I think, was seeing it through our main character Samantha's eyes. Having lived her life with a completely different family dynamic, I loved seeing her reactions.

Samantha, while we're on the topic, is just as realistic as a character as each of the Garretts. While most of us aren't in a situation similar to hers—a mother campaigning for office, rich, the golden child—it still feels somehow completely relatable.

And now, since it is a love story at its base, I've got to talk about the relationship. Jase is now high on my list of favorite fictional boys. Really—he's fantastic. He's sweet as can be, loves his family to death, and wonderfully honest. I rooted for him and Samantha the whole way through.

Usually when I'm writing a three-heart review, especially one where I've already listed so many good things, the bad parts of the book instantly spring to mind. This isn't one of those cases—it just felt like a three-heart book. While I loved the characters I mentioned and more that I didn't, I didn't love the book. I think, in part, it's because there's so many sad things that are happening or happen during the book, like Nan and her drugged-up brother. I hate to see people struggle, and when it's so realistic, it's just ten times worse. 

Just a reminder that this book is sort of PG-13—while it's not packed to the brim with cursing, there's that one character who makes the story particularly colorful. And it is a love story, so if those kind of things bother you, I'd steer clear of this one.

While I'd recommend it, this book isn't my new favorite. If you're looking for a summer read to make it through these winter months, you might just want to check this one out.