Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Foreverland is Dead

Title: Foreverland is Dead
Author: Tony Bertauski
Date Published: January 2013
Pages: 300

Six teenage girls wake with no memories. One of them is in a brick mansion, her blonde hair as shiny as her shoes. The others are in a cabin, their names tagged to the inside of their pants. Their heads, shaved. Slashes mark the cabin wall like someone has been counting.

Hundreds of them.

There’s wilderness all around and one dead adult. The girls discover her body rotting somewhere in the trees. As the weeks pass, they band together to survive the cold, wondering where they are and how they got there. And why.

When an old man arrives with a teenage boy, the girls learn of a faraway island called Foreverland where dreams come true and anything is possible. But Foreverland is dead. In order to escape the wilderness, they’ll have to understand where they are.

More importantly, who they are.

I don't know what to talk about first. My head is still spinning from this novel and not exactly in a good way. My first thoughts ... sigh. Okay. When I first read the blurb on Foreverland is Dead, I was really excited. This sounded like a dystopian novel ... I LOVE dystopian novels lately. And this one sounded like it had some crazy twists ... I do love twists!

Then I started reading. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm expecting too much with books today. Maybe that's what it is, my expectations are too high. I want to pick up a book and be transported. I want to go to another time or place and be swept up in what is going on in these pages. I don't want to think, I want to be overwhelmed. I want to feel something towards these characters ... I want to hate, love, dislike, despise, adore ... I don't care what emotion, really. I just want the characters to come alive.

At the end of the book, there is a MAJOR twist. And if I'm being completely honest, this twist was totally lost on me because I couldn't remember exactly who a certain character was. Really?!? I wanted to throw a massive temper tantrum and go kick someone in shin. I felt like I was let down. Granted, that may be my own fault. Maybe I didn't pay attention. Maybe it was the beginning of the book that lost me. 

At the beginning, I was a little thrown off by the haltingly way that the book was written. It felt like the author was trying to use the least amount of words possible for each sentence. The sentences were cut off, not in a way that left a fragmented sentence, but in a way that I felt I was only getting part of the information. The book read like it wanted to be more ... does that even make sense?!? I have another one of my crazy analogies for you ... the book is like a balloon that was only blown up half-way. The balloon wants to be huge! It has so much potential! When it's only blown up half-way it's a waste.

The short, weird sentences never completely went away. It was hard to get the feeling of the story ... feel what the characters were going through or get a full sense of what was going on around them. Eventually the sentences lengthened but by that time, I had lost a bit of interest. I don't want to work that hard to figure out who characters are and what they are about. 

The story wasn't bad. It was actually really good and that is the only reason that this book received 2 stars from me. I wanted to know what was going to happen. I needed to know what was going to happen. And let me tell you, that's a really weird feeling when you only know about half of the characters. I wanted to know but then I would have to go back to the beginning of the book to figure out who it was happening to. 

Once again, I'm in the minority with this review score. A lot of people really liked it. You should give it a shot. If nothing else, you'll read a really great story concept.

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