The following review is for a book I received through the Amazon Vine Program. It is intended for a young adult audience.
I imagine the pitch for this book was something like ‘The Wizard of Oz meets Cinderella meets It’s a Wonderful Life, written by a Psych major’. If that sounds like a compelling story to you, by all means, read this book. It pains me to give a novel such a low star rating, as I realize that the enjoyment of fiction is a very subjective experience. However, I would be lying if I said I enjoyed this novel. It was bad in a variety of ways.
First, given the book description, I assumed that I’d be reading the story of a girl trying to save her life by making it better–kind of like a YA novel version of the movie ‘Defending Your Life’. What I found instead was 100 pages of exposition, in which the author did do a great job of creating a character who was absolutely awful–I have never hated a character as much as I hated Bridget. But there are enough awful people in the real world–I’d prefer not to spend my time reading from the point of view of one.
Second, there were some technical issues with the story that I just could not get beyond. The strange point of view used in the second part of the book–wherein Bridget is at once both herself and other characters–is not well done at all (though to be fair, that would be a very difficult thing to write).
Additionally, just because a character states that something is cliched, that doesn’t make the cliched situation any less, well, cliched. In fact, it makes it worse, at least in my opinion. Beyond the stated cliches (‘my heart skipped a cliched beat’ and ‘cliche drunk girl’) this book had every major cliche known to man–a ‘wicked’ stepmother, a friend with an eating disorder, and a main character with multiple psychological issues stemming from her childhood.
Finally, while a minor irritation, the incessant brand name references were a bit over the top–Bridget has Von Dutch jeans, used NARS lipgloss, and has a Prada bag. She drank Vitamin Water so much I began wondering if there was such a thing as product placement in fiction (it there?)
I didn’t give up on the book, mainly because I truly wanted the main character to die–and given the title (and description, and cover art), I assumed at some point, she would. Unfortunately, my wish didn’t exactly come true. In fact, the only thing worse than the first half of this book was having to relive it all over again in the second half.