Canadian transplant in the US. Writing for sanity.
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Smashwords book reviews by Angela Fristoe
on July 18, 2011
There were a number of things I liked about this book, and a few things that bothered me. First I think that Ms. Boyd did a great job with the characters. Ariel is not some weakling, waiting to be rescued. She is on a mission to solve a mystery and, although she takes some silly risks, she doesn't wait around for her love interest to save or guide her. Her best friend Theo (who happens to be a girl) is nicely rounded out and seems to have things going on in her life besides Ariel. Henry (the love interest) could have been the cookie cutter mysterious guy, but Ms. Boyd manages to make him friendly, smart, and at times funny, with a bit of mystery thrown in.
Ariel's age (15) was a bit hard for me to relate with. It's a personal preference I have, and even though the blurb (and story) clearly told me she was 15 I didn't really click into it until about half way, then I though "ah, that's why she acts like that". Ariel is 15 and acts it.
The ending felt a bit rushed for me. There was a lot going on. I had no problem with the deaths that occur. That was staying true to the story, and although harsh, it wouldn't have been believable otherwise. I loved that it wasn't the typical happily ever after. I'm guessing Ms. Boyd is leaving it open for a sequel and I can't blame her for that.
- Going Under
on May 15, 2012
When I started reading Going Under I was expecting a slightly fluffier book, and I was glad that the author didn't go there. Cates grabbed me right from the start with characters that weren't 2-dimensional. Jessie is the guy from the wrong side of the tracks, who is willing to use someone for revenge, and Claire is a bit of a b***h, struggling to be the perfect girl her friends and family think she is.
Both characters start in a place where, while not perfect, they are realistic and likable. There were points where I wanted to strangle Claire and force her to make different decisions, but still I could see why she was making certain choices. I have to admit, I was cheering more for Jessie to get what he wanted more than I was cheering for Claire or even for the two of them to be together. Jessie had a tougher story, he was more sympathetic, and with more imperfections he was slightly more interesting than Claire, who sometimes fell into the whole 'my life is so perfect it's horrible' routine. They did have lots of chemistry and Cates kept things between them spicy and a their back and forth banter was fun.
There were a few twists that I wasn't expecting and Cates did a great job of leading up to them, without being obvious. The pacing was great, and I read the book within a day, not wanting to put it down. One thing that was different about the ending was that it came with an epilogue. I haven't noticed these a lot in YA books, and honestly I'm not sure Going Under needed it. If Jessie and Claire's story had ended at the end of the last chapter I would have been satisfied. The epilogue doesn't change my view of the story, but I just didn't see it as a necessary part of the story. Then again, it wraps things up, and leaves no questions about how Claire and Jessie's lives change from the beginning of the book.