Author: Demitria Lunetta
Expected Publication Date: March 14, 2017
Recommended Age: 15+
*I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher in EXCHANGE for an honest review through netgalley. All opinions are from me. a thank you to netgalley for providing this earc*
WARNING: This book does depict self harm/cutting in a blunt way. Be wary going into this book.
I had seen this book on Goodreads a few times in the Recommendations section. I read the synopsis and it sounded interesting. So when I saw it on NetGalley, I wanted to try it. Sadly, this book wasn’t my type of book. I do recommend you guys to go read a sample of it when the book is released to see if it’s for you so you can decide for yourself. Let’s break down the book!
Synopsis: Sixteen year old Heather McNair wants to feel normal. But her strong compulsions to cut, and the nightmares, make her feel different. Her mother is understandably very protective, but Heather hopes that spending time with her aunt in Scotland will help her get away from her past. However, when she arrives in Scotland, she learns that her past is more complicated, and laced with magic.
Writing: The first chapter of this book was engaging. The writing is short, tight and effective to show the perspective of a girl in 1600’s Scotland. The atmosphere in that chapter made me keep reading and wonder what would happen. Sadly, the writing seemed to decline in quality past that first chapter. It was too plain and didn’t keep that atmosphere. Chapters felt choppy and that were was material missing. One chapter would have an event occur, and then that very event would happen again, with no explanation of how that came to be. There were also many moments where the details of the plot were explained through dialogue, not showing those details unfold. That’s a big pet peeve of mine in literature. But it is easy to read and I did finish the whole book since it was easy.
Characters: Enter one of my biggest problems with this book. Heather is not a likable character. It’s understandable, since she suffers from this compulsion and feels the need to lie and hide it from friends and family. I understand the behavior, but she never changed during the course of this novel. She doesn’t acknowledge all that happened to her. She just gets what she wants in the end and doesn’t work terribly hard to achieve her goals. She never felt real to me, since she was hardly ever honest and the writing made her come off as a rude, selfish person.
Her aunt was also too free spirited than what I felt was realistic. She knows of Heather’s behavior and her past, but doesn’t put her foot down until it’s way too late to do so. She lets this girl who has serious issues do whatever she wants. People can have a free spirited personality, but I feel like she was too extreme of a case. The friends never changed as people either. One friend goes through something very serious, but shrugs it off and the three girls are still friends by the end. They never sit down and talk about what happened, or seemed to have any feelings about it.
The positive aspect of characters is that I enjoyed Robby as a love interest. He felt like an average guy who was nice and had good intentions. He treated girls very well and spoke his feelings. He stands up to Heather in one scene and I felt that same emotion he did. He was the most well written character and I did want to see what happened to him in the end.
Plot/Setting: The positives I have about this book is that the setting in Scotland was vivid and well drawn out. I could easily see the castle, tourist areas and the countryside of Scotland. The author did do her research and even had some of the slang and accents in their too. The way some words are said by the Scottish characters could bother some people, but I was able to see its purpose. The other positive is that I liked seeing the 1600’s setting. I liked hearing some of the history and the way people were. I hadn’t read a book set in that time period in Scotland and offered a nice change to the story. They were the better chapters to read from.
But that’s where the positives ended. The plot is very rushed and it felt like the author got carried away in the beginning of the book to build the plot and characters. I agree with some of the early reviews that the author should’ve taken between 50-100 more pages at the end to explain things and give the book a proper wrap up. Nothing of importance is revealed until you’re basically 75% through the book. That’s a lot of previous filler material to get to the point. I think some of the middle could’ve been cut out and fill up the ending more.
The ending was also very underwhelming and massively anti-climatic. The main character finally faces her problems at the end and just complains about how her life is being ruined and after saying a couple statements, it’s all over. The ending is never fleshed out. We just get a cheesy ending that shows that everyone is okay, still friends and not affected by the events at all. Heather never changes, and like I previously stated, the ending didn’t satisfy that intense punch the beginning had offered.
Overall: This book was simply not for me. I’m glad that I tried it and read something I wouldn’t have picked up myself. I got to read an author that was new to me and had a couple positives lights in it. I do recommend older teens to read it, since there’s depictions of self harm, but try it for yourself if you’re dying to read it.