BOOK REVIEW: THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY BY HANNAH TINTI

Above all else, The Twelve Lies of Samuel Hawley was, for me, a bland book. It started out well enough: I liked the subtlety of the relationship between Loo and Hawley, the writing was clean but not simplistic. But then the more I read it, the more deflated I felt. 

By far my biggest problem with this book is that I just didn’t give a single shit about Hawley’s chapters. They were incredibly redundant. Hawley gets 12 POV chapters dedicated to him, and each one details how he gets shot in some way or another. And I just didn’t care. I could not for the life of me care about Hawley getting shot during some random assignment with some random dude in some random location. The format lost traction very quickly for me because it was more or less the same every time: you know Hawley’s gonna get shot at some point, the question is just how that’s gonna happen. I was definitely more drawn to Loo’s chapters, but then later on I got bored with those as well. Plus I didn’t like the direction the plot ended up taking, neither the climactic scenes nor the ending. Sadly this book just went downhill very quickly for me.

2.5-


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ARC REVIEW: THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL BY MAXINE KAPLAN

This was…not what I was expecting. Okay, let me qualify that statement. To be fair, I hadn’t really expected much of this book. Given the title and the reviews I’d been looking at, I gathered that it was a contemporary about slut-shaming in a high-school setting. And it was about that, but it was also way larger in scope than I thought. First and foremost, I wanna say that the messages The Accidental Bad Girl puts forth are unabashed and unapologetic. Kendall’s character arc is well-done and, I have to admit, pretty badass. The ending in particular is a nice moment that’s a succinct rebuttal of rape culture and slut-shaming and gender double standards. That being said, I think this book was way too plot-heavy for my taste. Frankly, the plot was exhausting. Past a certain point in the story the plot revelations were just never-ending: one revelation would lead to the next would lead to the next would lead to the next so that by the end I just felt spent. And it wasn’t just the amount of plot that I had a problem with, it was also the content of the plot itself. The climactic scene in the end in particular felt like it was straining for a grandiosity that it just didn’t have. Above all, though, I think my biggest qualm with The Accidental Bad Girl is that I couldn’t tell what kind of book it was trying to be. At times it felt like your regular contemporary, others like a mystery/thriller, sometimes veering into detective or action-y territory. To put it simply, I understood where it wanted to go, but I didn’t understand how it got there.

Despite its flaws, The Accidental Bad Girl was a compelling read. It moves along quickly and has a pretty fierce protagonist. If you want to read a feminist takedown of the notion of the “bad girl” in society, The Accidental Bad Girl is the book for you.

Thanks to ABRAMS Kids/Amulet Books for providing me with an e-ARC of this via NetGalley!

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BOOK REVIEW: THE CHILD FINDER BY RENE DENFELD

idk this felt like it was trying so hard to be deep and poignant but really it just ended up being sappy and a little cringey

my biggest issue with this is that every single moment in the book felt like the author wanted it to be A Moment. characters who’d known each other for all of 5 minutes were already like woah I see all the emotional walls you’ve put up behind your smile !! you gotta let the past go !! you can’t keep holding on to those vulnerabilities forever !! and the whole time I was like ????? first of all, no one would ever say that to anyone they’d known for that short a time, and second of all, no one talks like that. pretty much all the scenes ended up feeling ridiculously forced because they were written with the subtlety of a brick to the face. also, the main character Naomi is supposed to be 30 but felt like she was 10 (and spoke like she was 10). and her overall characterization was so poor. all I know about her is that she trusts 3 people, and I only know that bc the author explicitly told us about it like 32830123 times 🙂 🙂 🙂

the writing style was redundant, the plot was boring with a bunch of unnecessary side-plots (not to mention convenient as hell), the shifting POVs annoyed me—frankly this book is just one big blob in my head right now. nothing about it left any kind of lasting impression one me. it was just BLEH. that’s about as close as I can get to representing my experience reading The Child Finder for you…

1.5-


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