Okay!!! There are some good points and some bad points for this tale, and I’ll try listing any that spring to mind to try and explain my middle-of-the-road rating!!!!
What could use working on!!!!
-the punctuation could use working on! It was pretty distracting! There were commas all over the place where no commas were needed! And there were commas where there should have been periods! On top of those, I don’t think I have ever read a story before with quite! so many! exc!amation marks!!!! They were everywhere! It almost read as though the narrator was either constantly yelling or constantly surprised! When it gets to the point that I’m noticing the (sometimes) 10+ exclamation marks on each page, some serious culling is in order.
-tense. The author could do with figuring out which tense she wants to use and attempting to stick to it. At one point, I had no idea what tense this story was supposed to be written in and it took some effort to switch off my inner editor and ignore it enough to read on. When the tense is consistent, it strengthens the writing and makes everything a lot clearer for the reader to follow.
-the voice. Yes, this is a teen novel. And yes, the teen voice of the narrator was pretty effective (which I’ll mention in my pluses in a mo) but there was inconsistencies there. The author had obviously gone to great lengths (sometimes overdoing it with the repetitions and waffling to the point of distraction) but then there were so few contractions that from one breath to the next the dialogue or narration went from authentic to unrealistic and wooden. No teen on earth says I am instead of I’m (or any other such familiar sayings). Half the time, they drop the opening word of a complete sentence. This is supposed to be a modern day, YA story and the lack of slang and contracted words stole the chance to solidify that–especially as this being in 1st person POV would have made it acceptable for it to bleed over into the narration from the dialogue.
-swear word. Note I use the singular. This is simply because you spent the entire tale barely hearing a bad word leave Kait’s lips and then we have a sudden narration right near the end that she needed to get the f*** out of there during the store finale scene. It just didn’t sit right and seemed to slip so far out of character, it jarred. Just my opinion, of course.
What was pretty cool:
-the voice … but only to an extent. It may well be my age, but I found I couldn’t read this in long sittings or the voice would begin to grate on me. It might benefit from being toned down just a touch and maybe using the extra word count to add in some showing instead of the telling that the entire story seemed to consist of. That being said, it was the voice that enabled me to imagine this coming from the mind of a teen because I do actually know a couple of teens who talk this way (and, yep, they drive me a little nuts, too, lol) so it certainly rang true.
-Kait. She is (despite her voice getting on my nerves) a really likeable and relate-able character who we see grow in confidence throughout the tale. She is one half of the driving force of this story, alongside ….:
-Ethan Ripley. If I were a teen, I’d be thinking ‘yum’. And not just from his physical description but from the entire package the author created in this dude. He’s adorable and it’s easy to see what might have Kait so hooked.
-the plot. Although I did kinda manage to start piecing the fragments together before the end, this was fairly well woven and fun to follow. It might have been nice to add on an epilogue for the Homecoming ball though, just for kicks.
Now I’m interested in seeing a few more reviews from younger readers to see if my few complaints are to do with my fuddy-duddy view.