Hi! My name is Anna, "You'd really like me if you got to know me. I've known me for years and I love me."
Word count: about 82 000
That book was as exciting as some of the best fantasy I've read. I literally sat down and got so engrossed in the story I finished it in one sitting; I simply couldn't put it down.
What is it about? A chick that rides BMX.
Heroine: a very realistic girl. She acts like a teenager. Yes, she's confident, and knows what she wants, but still is affected by shit happening around her. Getting dumped by a guy hurts. It really does. Especially when you're this young. She doesn't create needles drama, tries to be tough, but obviously has no control (as we all don't) over how she feels. It's real.
I felt for her, I rooted for her and was with her all the way.
She has a passion to follow, something she loves and tries her best to be good at. And that is the main focus of a book (not an afterthought, like in so many YA, where the book is about luv, and everything else is half-assed (btw. my autocorrect wants to turn 'half-assed' into 'self-assured'; I don't think it would work...)).
In fact I'd say for a most part romance wasn't exactly, if at all, happening. You don't see a main love interest form miles away. It could be any boy she meets. That was unbelievably refreshing.
She has a few really wise insights/thoughts:
"can't make a move without my parents signing a waiver, and this is supposed to be the time of my life?" - I agree. Don't know what the whole fuss about high-school is. Even when I was there I didn't get it.
"Yay, me - I'd won. I was right an he was wrong and here I was by myself. The truth was, no one cared."
Aaaaaaand to balance it out she can act like an idiot - removing hurtful youtube comments and shit. Acting like a sensitive three-year-old. If the book was from years back, I could ignore it. Not today. You allow to post a video like that, you get comments like this. Just a circle of life.
Nobody's faultless. There's no perfect, bad-ass guy waiting behind a corner. All characters (both male and female) have faults, problems, weakness. Even secondary characters seem realistic. No cardboard copies there.
I also can't put into words how much I love the family dynamics we're presented with. Parent's aren't props; usually a fridge plays a bigger role than a mother or a father, who are reduced to a walking wallet that buys food and pays the bills. Mother is involved in her children's lives. She keeps tabs on them. Her daughter can't just announce she'll do this or that. She needs permission. Remember that thing that is absent from YA? Yeah, that one where you had to negotiate with your parents, compromise while biting your tongue to contain screams of outrage - how dare they tell me how to live my life! I'm not a child!
I identified with it. My parents wouldn't let me travel the country alone with my friends for a very long time. Going clubbing at night wouldn't be an option, not in my dreams. So parents annoyingly wanting all the contact information, trying to meet people you're living with, their parents, aunts, tax collectors, employers, doctors and confessors; wanting to see medical history, driving license and a proof of not being a drug dealer - all of that is very realistic for me.
So her parents are pretty realistic. There's just one problem - they don't allow their kids to have computers in their rooms. . . WTF? That's positively Amish. What a weird and sick idea!
I can't begin to describe how exciting that book is. I read it in one go and couldn't stop turning pages. I've read dragon fights that were less exciting. If someone told me this book could be that captivating, I wouldn't believe them. Typically action in YA is sparse and not the centre of attention. That was an unexpected thrill-ride.
I'm impressed. Even though I had pretty high expectations (since Litchick was raving about this book and talked me into reading it) it still managed to amaze me. That like doesn't happen. Ever. To expect something awesome and still be that thrilled... I don't think it ever happened to me before.
*Connor, I love Connor. He's one of the side characters, but definitely deserves to be mentioned in a separate paragraph. A really weird guy with a few of the best lines in this book.
"Connor came running up wearing a fur hat with ear-flaps and frantically spun the combination on his lock. "Abort. Abort. Operation Zephyr is a no-go." He spoke in a low, urgent voice. "Repeat. Operation Zephyr is a no-go. Dragon Two, do you copy?" - We have no idea what is going on. But it sounds awesome ^^
"With the constraints of the school system lifted I can finally learn something" - I couldn't agree with him more.
*The only criticism of this book I have, is that in the end it's a bit naive; unicorns shitting rainbows kind of naive. Very moralizing, very sweet. If you read it (which I hope you do) you'll know what I mean. Kind of made me cringe a bit.