Book Review: Red Queen

AKA: I’ve Made a Huge Mistake

There is often much handwringing regarding adults reading YA novels. As someone who reads YA for kicks but who mostly reads classics and literary fiction, I can understand both sides.

There is interesting, clever and fairly well done YA. There’s also a lot of terrible YA. I do think, in general that people ought to read what they like as there’s far too little reading going on in general. YA is fun and can serve as a pretty nice getaway from some heavier adult literature. But I also don’t think that it’s best to just limit yourself to YA as an adult. There’s a lot of nuance in adult literature (in general) that is absent in YA (in general). But mostly, I fall back to “Read what you want, guys!”

Admittedly, YA isn’t a large part of my reading life. It’s there, I don’t knock it as a whole and if something looks interesting, I’m gonna read it. I’ve finished reading 56 books this year and 7 (or 8, depending on if you classify The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night as YA (some do, some don’t) are YA. That’s not exactly a large percentage. It’s simply easier for me to find more adult literature that makes me excited to read. But obviously, I’m not against reading YA. If it looks good and intrigues me, I’m gonna read it.

Based on the hype machine that is the internet, I decided to follow up Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh with a current YA favorite, Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen.

This was a gigantic mistake on my part.

Red Queen is a thoroughly unremarkable novel where the only thing of note about it is how it came to be and the fact that it’s a fantastic illustration of why people think YA novels are beneath adult reading. Continue reading

Book Review: The V Girl

AKA: Why Did I Read This?

With Mya Robarts’ The V Girl, I took a step into New Adult fiction. I want to go back home because it must be said: The V Girl is simply not very good.

The V Girl has a super interesting concept, but here, that concept really reads more as a means to an end, rather than something that the author wanted to seriously explore. It feels like concept was really just a highbrow way to get sex into a book.

So, essentially, Lila Velez is a resident of a post-apocalyptic North America where rape and sexual slavery are legal. She’s a virgin, so she’s trying to lose her virginity before it’s taken from her. This sounds really good, right? Like it could be really gritty, really profound and something special? Well it’s really, really not. Robarts’ world building and characterization bears much of the fault for that.

Continue reading