Sunday, 14 July 2013

Books that don't walk-the-walk-and-talk-the-talk AKA Don't match the hype.

I think I'm jaded. Yup. I've admitted it. Jaded. Burnt out. Ticked Off. Call it what you will, but I'm really struggling to get excited about my current reads. Cleverly, my judgement is off because I'm curling my lip up at books everyone else is raving about. 

Or, just maybe, everyone else is wrong and I'm right and the books are just too hyped and don't deliver. I'll leave it to you to decide. 

So what book got me going this time?

Eleanor and Park (Goodreads)

Come on, how can one not get excited about a blurb that says:

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet? 
Shallow, confused, then dead. 
I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers. 
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be. 
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

Well, I got excited when I saw it. Very. A contemporary romance set in the eighties! That's my era! I know exactly who Bono is! And that stuff about Romeo and Juliette - hey, I'm there!!!! 

So I dumped my entire TBR, rushed off to Amazon and, one click later, was cuddled up in bed with Eleanor and Park. Now, I won't go as far as to say that I promptly fell asleep, but it was close. 

What went wrong?
Maybe it was the hype. I was expecting SO much. Every review, every post I'd read about it shouted Katie McGarry at me (Pushing The Limits and Dare You To), so I was expecting something amazing. And it wasn't. It just wasn't. 

Eleanor and Park are both endearing wackos (two weirder misfits you'll be hard pressed to find) and their love is very tender, but the book was boring. There I said it. I kept waiting for something dramatic to happen, but all they did was spend a year riding on the school bus together. And for the first six months of that year they didn't even talk to each other!!!!! Go figure.

And then enter the evil stepdad . . . the Katie McGarry twist. Ho-hum. Maybe I am jaded, but all he did was ensure the book had a rotten ending. Urgh . . . that's me spitting out a hairball. I'm sick of books with horrible endings . . . see my post here on that subject.

Also, I get the New Adult genre. It's for authors who want to write books just a little steamier, just a little racier, and maybe with the odd bit of bad language thrown in that would never glide by in Young Adult. I'm okay with that - up to a point. But for me, the rapid fire of F's in the first three pages of Eleanor and Park overshot the limit by a mile. Really nasty language. 

Dare You To by Katie McGarry is not exactly tame when it comes to language, but it fitted the characters and the context. I felt in the beginning of Eleanor and Park it was used for shock value to show just what a jerk the school jock and his crew of merry men and women were. But honestly, I'm sure that with a little bit of creative thinking, Rainbow Rowell could have come up with something more engaging than pages of dialogue peppered with the Fword. And stepdad's contribution? Well, I think there are other, far less offensive words that could have done the same job. Yuk. I think I'll just give my brain a quick flush.

So, all told, the book was a fail for me. Stars? Two. Aren't I the were sad one?

I would love to know your view. Leave a comment and let's chat.


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