Lucy Atkin’s “The Missing One” – A review

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*This review was originally posted on Skattered Notes Blog.com*

Dear ones,

I am finally taking the time to write this long awaited review of Lucy Atkins’ debut novel! As they say, better late than never. Since the release of this book, Lucy Atkins has written a second novel, The Other Child.
Author
Story   
Writing
Cover  
Mystery

PROS
Captivating
Thrilling
Strong characters
Beautiful narratives
Tense

CONS
Long narratives
Slow beginning

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Language: English
Genre:General Fiction
Adult Fiction
            Thriller
            Mystery

ISBN-10:

9781623659899

Published: Feb 3, 2015
Publisher: Quercus

DISCLAIMER
The Missing One, debut novel of Lucy Atkins, was kindly provided for an honest review by NetGalley and its publisher Quercus.

What drew me to this book was not only the beautiful cover, but the mysterious title. I had questions such as “Who was missing?” and “What is the whales connection?” when i picked up my copy of the novel. Because this was Lucy Atkins’ debut novel, I had no previous background on her writing style.

As Lucy Atkins shares in the video above, the story starts with the death of Kali’s mother – Elena. Kali is going through a lot at this period of her life, a lot due to her uncertainties about things and the people in her life. As I turned the pages, it was obvious that Kali holds a grudge against her mom, while desperately seeking closure. The novel is written from two sides: as a flashback from Elena’s life, and as a present scene depicted by Kali.

Although I found this going back and forth between the past and the present a bit difficult to digest the novel and progress through it, I also was surprised by how well each scene was described. Lucy Atkins had me wrapped up in her beautiful imageries, and I felt transported to the British Columbia she so well describes. Despite the fact that at times some narratives seemed a bit too long for my taste, I couldn’t resolve to leave the book without having reached its end.

As Kali meets Susannah, the woman who has been sending her mother postcards for years, in an attempt to learn more about the woman her mother really was, the story starts to take a very interesting turn. The novel becomes darker and darker, with angry landscapes and muted notes. I found my heartbeat pick up a bit as I felt the danger nearing Kali and her baby Finn. I wanted her to stop searching for the truth regarding her mother and just go back to England, to her comfort zone. But as I worried for her and Finn, I also wanted to discover the secrets that had been hidden from her her whole life.

As a debut novel, I must say that Lucy Atkins set the bar pretty high. The tone was right, the narratives and characters were strong. There was no unnecessary word uttered, no unnecessary scene. Everything fell into place by the end of the novel, just like a puzzle game, revealing the big picture. It took me a while to get through the book, because it was so intense with descriptions of whales and Elena’s work with them, I felt the  need to put it down to absorb it fully. I could have done without such detailed accounts of whale-studies,but I understand that they were necessary for the sake of the story-line. Now, I will admit that it also took a while to even understand where the story was going, with all the back and forth between Elena’s past and Kali’s present. However, I am glad I stuck with it, as as soon had Kali reached Susannah, the book began to climax. Overall I did enjoy this book, which is really packed with intensity leading to a discovery of a really dark past.  I think readers of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and lovers of anything thrilling/dark will enjoy this book.

Book Review|Those Girls by Lauren Saft

Book Review of Those Girls by Lauren Saft

Originally when I saw this book, I judged it by its cover. The beautiful blue jacket over the girl’s shoulders, and this “mean girl” title. I knew this book would be about frenemies, à la Gossip Girls, but I had no idea how far this concept would be taken…

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Author

Story   

Writing

Cover  

Mystery

PROS

Captivating

Easy read

CONS

Use of sexual content,

drug and alcohol use,

and/or violence

Strong language

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Amazon

FOLLOW LAUREN SAFT

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Instagram

MORE INFO

Language: English

Genre: 

Young & Adult

Fiction

Teen Fiction

          

ISBN-10:0316403660

Published: June 9, 2015

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

DISCLAIMER

Those Girls, debut novel of Lauren Saft, was kindly provided for an honest review by NetGalley and its publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Read the full disclaimer here.

Lauren Saft’s debut novel, Those Girls is a story of three teenage girlfriends, Alex, Mollie and Veronica. They are are those girls: “they’re the best of friends and the party girls of the school. But how well does everybody know them–and really, how well do they know one another? Alex is secretly in love with the boy next door and has joined a band–without telling anyone. Mollie suffers from a popular (and possibly sociopathic) boyfriend, as well as a serious mean streak. And Veronica just wants to be loved–literally, figuratively, physically….she’s not particular. Will this be the year that bonds them forever….or tears them apart for good?

Those Girls is told from the point of view of each character, which I will admit is not always an easy thing to do, without stripping off their nature. I think Lauren Saft did a good job in keeping each character’s profile throughout the novel. I am not going to say that I loved the characters – no, they were all mean brats, who called each other names, lied, back stabbed one another, while still calling each other friends. Nonetheless, despite their vulgarity, as seen through the way they refer to one another, Lauren Saft did not bend and turn these girls into lovable characters by the end of the book. I found this refreshing, and it wasn’t so much of a sappy book as most Y&A books tend to be (considering their targeted audience).

However, classifying this book as a Young Adult novel was pushing it a bit. I think the book needs to be reclassified as New Adult. The reason being because of all the swearing and sex talks that are found within each page. Not to mention the use of drugs and alcohol. I don’t think this is a book appropriate for teenagers, and in no way does it set an example for young girls. That said, not being offended by these profanities, I was able to move through the book pretty quickly.

I found the book to be captivating, not because I thought it was the most entertaining and beautiful read, but because I was intrigued by these frenemies; I wanted to know whether or not their friendship would survive and whether or not they would have a moment of awakening.

Each character stirred different feelings in me, going from approval to strong dislike. If I liked that Alex did not care to be seen with the popular and most attractive guys of the school when compared to her best-friends, I also disliked how she lied and hurt those she cared about. If Veronica was despicable in her role of a sex-hoarder, she also appeared fragile and really in search of love. She always wanted to fit in, to be accepted for whom she was and to be seen as someone with more substance instead of the Barbie look her friends attributed her. Among the three however, I found Mollie to be the most despicable of them three. Despite that I also saw her as being scared to not count, to be in the shadows of Alex and Veronica. Despite some humanity in their actions, I found no real connection to the characters. When the story came to its end I was sad to see that neither character had grown and learned from this short time in their friendship life. I wish Lauren Saft had taken her time to explore each character in a more personal level. What made Alex, Mollie and Veronica be so mean? What had shaped them and their unhealthy behavior? It would have been nice to do without all the slut-shaming as well.

Is this book for everyone? Definitely not. It will not appeal to those looking for a Gossip Girl like novel, nor to those who get easily offended by strong language and graphic content. I think in order to enjoy the book for what it is is to take some distance from trying to compare it to any previous work that exist in this same genre. But it does make for an easy and quick read – if one is looking for something in that department. Lauren Saft has a clearly a lot more to learn in the department of storytelling, but her writing style is just as refreshing.