>> Thursday, November 15, 2012
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.Echo can't remember the traumatic night that pushed her mother out of her life and put her in hospital, Noah is struggling to keep in touch with his younger brothers after reacting against an abusive foster parent labelled him a troublemaker, a label that has followed him round in the system. Being respectively a "good girl" from a wealthy family and a "bad boy" in foster care, these two have never really interacted, although they've been definitely aware of each other. And then their counsellor at school decides to get Echo to tutor Noah.
But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.
Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.
I read maybe a quarter of this one, and it didn't really capture my attention and make me want to keep reading. Mostly, it felt very high-schooley and immature. Although Echo and Noah are very close to graduation and the biggest amongst their issues are on the grown-up side, so the book could therefore be considered to be closer to New Adult than Young Adult, it's very high-schooly. There's the big deal made of popularity in school, and how Echo is now a freak and an outsider, that made me roll my eyes. For heaven's sake, she and her friends seem not to have much of a problem that her popular friend will only be private friends with her, and will ignore her in public. All this stuff really alienated me, these are issues I have absolutely no empathy with. Which is exactly why I don't read YA, except for some very rare exceptions.
Actually, I'm still trying to figure out where I stand with YA on the whole. I know I can can take teenaged characters in certain non-romance contexts. Novels not set in a world other than our own seem to be fine (e.g. Hunger Games, or even Divergent), but also some set in our own have worked well. I've liked things like John Green's An Abundance of Katherines, which was set during the summer holidays, and Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star, with a paranormal plot and set in a London boarding school. I think it's the American high school setting that has me running in the opposite direction. Not sure where that allergy comes from, but there it is.
Something else to mention is that I started out listening to the audiobook, which had male and female narrators (MacLeod Andrews and Tara Sands) each reading the alternating sections from Echo and Noah's points of view. Good thing I'd got it from the library, because the female narrator was incredibly annoying, and I ended up switching to text after the first few chapters. Her rendition of Echo's friends' dialogue was exactly what you think when you think annoying teenage girl, and even her slightly more neutral non-dialogue sections were grating. Plus, McGarry often has her characters think a snarky response to a question, and then say something more acceptable, and with audio, it was difficult to tell which bit was spoken and which only thought.
MY GRADE: A DNF