Monday, February 20, 2017
DNF Mini Reviews-- 2 Books That I Was Sure I Would Like, But Didn't
I don't DNF a lot, but when I do I usually like to share a little bit about why. Here are 2 recent DNFs and a mini-review of each one:
1. The Girls by Emma Cline
Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader.
Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.
How Far I Got: 100 pages
Why I DNF'd: The writing. When I first heard about this book I was ALL about it. I don't read a lot of Adult books, but fictionalized true crime and cults are 2 of my INSTANT YES books. I wasn't sure if the "charismatic leader" was Charles Manson or not (it was the latter), but it was obviously going to be based on that whole event.
So, the book goes back and forth between an adult Evie, who clearly does not have her shit together-- and a teenage Evie, who is looking for someone to pay attention to her. She ends up seeing this group of girls digging through a dumpster and is instantly intrigued with them-- especially Suzanne, a girl that Evie has an instant crush on. From there she goes to the ranch and the rest is sort of/kind of history??
I think this was a story I really could have gotten down with, except MY GOD WOMAN HOW MANY ADJECTIVES DO YOU NEED TO USE?? It was so poetic and wordy and not plot-y or exciting. I don't think I'm incapable of liking poetic books, but the when they border on trying too hard and being pretentious, I'm out.
Also, this book reminded me why I don't read Adult. Why is it that Adult books always have to give me TMI gross-out moments? I'm not a prude, but every single time I try to read an Adult book, I inevitably get to the part where the author overshares about the character's bodily functions/desires/weird-ass gross thoughts. If it's something that is needed to be told to tell the story, fine-- but when almost all the Adult books do it, it feels like it's part of a writing formula, and I HATE those.
So, basically this book was ZZZzzzZZZ and FLOWERY AS F.
2. The May Queen Murders by Sara Jude
Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.
Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it.
The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.
How Far I Got: Halfway
Why I DNF'd: It was too weird. I guess I didn't read the synopsis on this one too well, because I was super shocked when the characters in this book lived so primitively. Normally that wouldn't be a problem, but since I was expecting some kind of beauty queen slasher murder/mystery in regular-old small town America, I had a hard time transitioning my mind to be in the mood for this one.
Obviously, that's not the book's fault at all. I am a SUPER mood reader and pretty much HAVE to be in the mood for the book I'm reading or it feels like a chore. I really did try to power through this one, but animals were dying and there were all these superstitions and rituals-- and I just was not in the mood for it. I also thought it was super weird to have these kids growing up without modern conveniences, yet go to school with regular teens. I feel like it just would not work-- either the Glen kids would rebel from their simple lives, or they would hate every single moment of their regular school and drop out.
Since I didn't finish it, I really can't comment on if the mystery was any good or not. It didn't get me excited about it in the first half, so I can only hope it heated up towards the end.
This book was gory animal death, bland characters, and not super interesting plot.
Have you read either of these books? I'm usually a black sheep, so don't hate me if you loved these!
I'd love to hear thoughts-- do either of them get better as they go on? Or was I right to quit when I did?