It’s not you, it’s me: When it’s just not working

Posted 20 March, 2012 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 17 Comments

This year has been a series of highs and lows in my book reading life (and IRL, though that’s a different story). There have been some books that absolutely blew me away and some that, well, I just didn’t want to spend any more time with. They just didn’t capture my interest and, with so many other books waiting for me, I had to say goodbye. Be sure to check out other reviews, as both of these books have plenty of people who loved them!
Series Break-Up: The Firelight series
VANISH by Sophie Jordan
YA Paranormal
294 pages, hardcover
Available now (Sept. 2011)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley
To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?
While I do love dragons and there was absolutely nothing wrong with the writing (I enjoyed the descriptions, especially of the dragons in flight), the characters annoyed me. In particular, Jacinda. To me, she comes off as very immature and selfish. It’s not her way, so she sneaks around, endangering her entire species. Of course, I’m not a big fan of the leaders of her pride either–they’re cruel and unforgiving–however, Jacinda and her mercurial emotions just made me want to shake her. That, coupled with the massive cliffhanger at the end of book two (gah!) and love triangle (double gah!), is why I’m breaking up with this series.
Book Break-Up: PRETTY CROOKED by Elisa Ludwig
YA Contemporary
358 pages, hardcover
Available now (March 2011)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley
Willa’s secret plan seems all too simple: take from the rich kids at Valley Prep and give to the poor ones. Yet Willa’s turn as Robin Hood at her ultra-exclusive high school is anything but. Bilking her “friends”-known to everyone as the Glitterati-without them suspecting a thing, is far from easy. Learning how to pick pockets and break into lockers is as difficult as she’d thought it’d be. Delivering care packages to the scholarship girls, who are ostracized just for being from the “wrong” side of town, is way more fun than she’d expected.

The complication Willa didn’t expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, Valley Prep’s most notorious (and gorgeous) ace-degenerate. His mere existence is distracting Willa from what matters most to her-evening the social playing field between the have and have-nots. There’s no time for crushes and flirting with boys, especially conceited and obnoxious trust-funders like Aidan. But when the cops start investigating the string of burglaries at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could he wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?

This is such a cute premise! I love a good heist story, especially when the nasty folks get their just desserts. However, about halfway through, I started to wonder why Willa didn’t just stand up to the Glitterati. Sure, they would have kicked her out of their little group and she wouldn’t have been one of the popular girls any more but so? It takes a lot more guts to stand up to someone or a group of someones who are doing the wrong thing than trying to even the playing field by stealing. Grammy always said, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” I think this really twanged my nerves because of the bullying and teasing I see at school–and so few of the kids stand up to those who are being aggressive to others. Again, it was a cute story but I just wasn’t happy that Willa didn’t make a more public stand against the Glitterati and support the “underdogs”.
This break-up post is inspired by  
Lori at Pure Imagination‘s Book Break-Up feature.

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

17 Responses to “It’s not you, it’s me: When it’s just not working”

  1. I’ve read Firelight but not Vanish…I might pick it up someday but not now. I liked Pretty Crooked enough but I totally get where you’re coming from. I’m having lots of problems with books lately too.

  2. Sometimes the breakup is necessary, I completely understand! I really enjoy the Firelight series, but I agree with you Jacinda can be selfish at times. I’m undecided on Pretty Crooked, I had some definite issues with this first one, but I’m kind of curious to see if any of them get resolved in the second book. I’ve broken up with the House of Night series by the Casts, I just couldn’t deal with the characters anymore even though I enjoyed the first few books, but like you said, there are so many other books out there I really want to read that I don’t have time to spend reading ones I know will just be lukewarm for me.

    • I had to break up with the House of Night, too! Once the evil chick and the bird-warrior things dominated the story, I was out. And I really liked it, too!

      Still. No book suits everyone!

  3. I read Firelight and didn’t really care for it. It was a strange book and I couldn’t for the life of me picture the dragons in it. They were these weird fury bat things and it was odd.

  4. I haven’t read Vanish yet, I was kind of thinking I’d wait until I can read it and the next one closer together. But I’m a bit worried now that Jacinda will drive me nuts. Seems like she annoyed me a bit in the first one but I barely even remember it…

    Pretty Crooked is one I’ve seen mostly mediocre to bad reviews on and not really any good reviews so I wasn’t planning on picking it up. Sorry you really didn’t care for it though!

  5. *hugs*
    Oh, it’s hard to break up with a book or a series but sometimes it needs to be done.
    There is just too much to read out there and if you’re not liking the characters, even if the writing of of the premise is nice and interesting.

  6. I’ve read mixed reviews of Pretty Crooked. I’m still very curious about it. Particularly because it’s set in Phoenix, which is where I’m from. Guess I’ll find out.

  7. Pretty Crooked was just alright for me it was a bit far-fetched. You shoud try her self pubbed book I really liked that one. I haven’t read Vanish but I don’t think it’d be a book I’d like that much. Great reviews chicky!!

  8. Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy Vanish very much! I totally agree that Jacinda drove me crazy with her sneaking around and immaturity. The people in her pack were very harsh and crazy. I am looking forward to the next book, but mostly because of Cassian. 🙂

    I haven’t read Pretty Crooked yet. It sounds like a cute book, but after reading your review, it sounds like I probably won’t enjoy it all that much. o.O

    Lovely post!

  9. I haven’t read either of these books because the concepts don’t really interest me. The first series because I’m not really a dragon fan, and the second because I don’t really think the Robin Hood concept translates well into the modern age. Probably for the reason you mentioned–two wrongs do NOT make a right. Unless your an oppressed people in the Middle Ages? I don’t know. I’m a complex person. However, I absolutely LOVE this concept of a book breakup. It’s hilarious, and describes my feelings when a series I formerly enjoyed heads off in a direction I can’t relate to. Fun post!

  10. I read Firelight but I told myself NOT to continue with the series. Sounds like I made a good decision. The problems you had with Vanish sounds exactly what I didn’t like (and more) in the first book.