Another book which I picked up from the “Read Now” section of NetGalley, I didn’t know what to make of this book even by reading just the summary. Part of me, though, was hoping this book would take on the more ‘whimsical’, metaphorical turn and deliver that kind of atmosphere, with characters that would really stick and a story that would move me.
The book, sadly, didn’t take such a turn. It had so much potential but fell flat with probably the most important part of it all: the protagonist. I didn’t like Mary in general, and at some points in the story I liked her even less than average. The amount of ‘modern’ teenage lingo and usage, which began from the texts which Mary and Liv sent to each other and ended with the way in which Mary acted and thought, annoyed me. I know it’s a YA novel (it’s marketed as that, at least), but when an author goes out-of-their-way to try and make the character and situation sound more modern and appealing to get into the teenage ‘hype’ it rarely works. In this case it didn’t.
I’m lost as to what the exact aim of the authors was. What I took out of this book was that it’s a story about a girl who struggles with her own emotional state and family life, has bizarre friends and lives in a (somewhat) crazy town, and then meets a boy who “turns her world upside-down” (literally) and how she deals with all this. But here’s the thing: if only there was more of that emotional development and growth of the main character, a better pacing and establishment of a connection between the characters, and a clearer idea of what was actually going on, THEN the book would’ve been on a whole different level. I didn’t follow the whole flying-and-vaccine story, and it took too long to get to the actual point and explanation. I lost a lot of interest by that time but decided to keep reading and finish, just to see where the book would end. The one point which I’m actually happy about is that Mary and Floating Boy don’t have that automatic googly-eyed teenage lovey-dovey relationship which dominates many books now a days. Otherwise there could’ve been something more going on, especially in terms of clarity.
Aspects of the book will connect with people, I’m sure, like the Claremonts with their bizarre and (at times) annoying use of religion to back up all their actions. Elements of the characters themselves will appeal to readers as well, but the problem is that, as a whole, the characters are difficult to connect with. I still have hardly any visualization of what Floating Boy was like, the same with Mary and the others. The town which the story is set is another blank blob which I can’t fill in, and while it’s great to have a book with action that continues steadily the description component should also be in there at some point. As for me I just would’ve liked a more metaphorical approach to the story, but that’s just me.
Don’t expect much from this book is all I would tell readers. If you get your hopes up too high chances are they won’t be fulfilled. The book is somewhat all over the place and tries hard to be several different things at once, yet in the end fails to deliver a charming appeal to the reader.