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A flawed but daring YA novel
This novel had its flaws, but I immensly appreciate it for trying to take on such heavy material. YA isn't exactly a breeding ground for maturity and originality, but this is a good attempt to challenge that.
Main character Jasmine is very likeable. While some moments felt out of character for how witty and confident she suddenly was (especially during the ending), her moments of anxiety felt authentic. As for Sam, I hadn't expected to like her at all, but near the end I had to admit she too had grown on me. The story itself dares to take a controversial stance in legitimate issues, for which I applaud it.
However, I did have some issues with it. First of all, for a professional publication there were definitely way too many editing mistakes. More significantly, Jasmine (and to a lesser extent Sam) sounded suspiciously young for her supposed age. In fact, I saw little difference between her 'voice' in the present time and during the flashbacks which go significantly into the past; that's a big problem. Perhaps it's because of this that I can't bring myself to find the poems charming - the poet sounds creepily obsessed.
There were also characters that just sort of existed until they got attributed certain skils that happened to be exactly what the plot needed, and the antagonist is downright cartoonish. Shame, because as I said the story features some heavy content -- imagine how chilling it could've been if he was actually convincing!
Still, despite its shortcoming this is a greatly needed breath of fresh air for YA and a novel that respects its audience. With some polishing, and perhaps a rewrite here and there, this could become a little gem among YA.
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