Reading level: Young Adult
Size: 224 pages
Release Date: January 18, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC from Netgalley.com
Rating: 2/5 stars
This sounded like an interesting book and is part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge that I am participating in. I got an advanced reading copy through NetGalley(dot)com. It was an okay book. There were some things about it that I thought were clever, but I had a hard time looking past the really annoying main character.
Bridget is the daughter of a famous ESPN sports caster and as such is a popular girl in school. Bridget is also very self-centered and nasty to the people around her. Then one day a new girl named Anna comes to school, everyone likes Anna instantly. Bridget watches as her popularity fades and Anna slowly gains control of the school. Feeling a bit down by her loss of power Bridget decides to recklessly drive her car in an attempt to commit suicide (this is where the book starts) but at the last minute realizes she doesn’t want to die. That’s when things get weird.
The book starts with the scene where Bridget recklessly drives her car and looses control of it. Then it goes back to how she got to that point. The first half of this book is focused on how Bridget interacts with her family and friends. Bridget is a super mean and nasty girl, she disrespects everyone and is tearing apart the people around her in her apparent ignorance of her own meanness. That right there was my biggest problem with this book; Bridget is very mean and manipulative but she is shown as not realizing how mean she is. I had a lot of trouble believing that anyone could be that nasty to people and not realize what they were doing.
In the second half of the book Bridget has to relive scenes were she is mean to people but from the other person’s point of view. This was a neat idea, but it has been done before. It reminds a lot of the Christmas Carol and Ebenezor Scrooge’s Ghost of Christmas Past.
In the second half the author tries to get you to sympathize and maybe understand Bridget, but I had trouble doing that. I felt like the moral of this book was that you can be mean and nasty your whole life; then if you spend a day trying to fix everything that will be enough and you are forgiven. It wasn’t a realistic way to end the book and was all neat and pretty to the point of being a bit contrived.
The writing style was easy to read and the dialogue sounded natural so that was nice. There really wasn’t much paranormal element to this book; just a touch but it wasn’t the focus.
Overall I thought the book was predictable and I really didn’t enjoy Bridget as a character. I didn’t really enjoy the plot (which focused mainly on high school angst) and thought things were a bit too neatly set up. Fans of books about the “mean girl” in a high school redeeming herself might enjoy this book. Fans of paranormal young adult books should look elsewhere. This book is definitely aimed at a female young adult audience and I don’t think many outside of that subset will find much to enjoy here.