Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Review: The Boy From the Woods by Jen Minkman

The Boy From the Woods by Jen Minkman
Release Date: December 1, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Julia fell down on her knees next to his lifeless body, her heart filling with dread as she noticed the left side of his face was covered in blood. He had fallen off the motorbike, hitting his temple on a sharp-edged rock. His head injury looked really, really bad. “Michael?” she whispered softly, putting a trembling hand on his forehead. “Can you hear me?”

Julia has been in love with Michael for years. He’s the hottest guy in school, and she can’t believe her luck when they finally hit it off during Senior Prom. Her dream doesn’t last, though: after a few dates, he callously dumps her out of the blue. Summer vacation starts with Julia feeling heart-broken and miserable.

But then she rescues Michael in the woods when he has a motorcycle accident in a heavy thunderstorm. From that point onward, her life is turned upside down. Michael has changed completely after the blow to the head that nearly killed him... and he wants her back. But why is he so different? And will she be able to trust him this time around?  Can the boy who broke your heart ever win it back again..?

Okay, I'll just go ahead and put it out there right away that this was a DNF for me.  For some reason, I really just could not get into this story at all.  It wasn't the crush on Michael part that did it for me... we've all had crushes after all, and it wasn't exactly the fact that Michael comes back changed and kind of begins to stalk her back.  Ordinarily this might have been a good twist.  Here are the things I had problems with:

First, this book is set in Salzburg, which wouldn't exactly be a problem, I guess, but I feel like the humor in the book and some of the interactions among the characters just didn't connect for me, or I couldn't relate to it, etc.  I think there's a humor thing different countries have that maybe doesn't always translate across other countries.

Another thing was that the pacing just plodded along a bit too much for me. It seems like there were a lot of unnecessary scenes in the story that didn't really add anything to the overall book.  Imagine having to read a book that was: "She threw the covers off, got out of the bed, went toward the bathroom, opened the door to the bathroom, put toothpaste on her toothbrush, and began to brush her teeth."  That's not a scene in the book, and I am exaggerating slightly, but so much of the book felt like this... like we were following along to extraneous tasks, visits, get togethers, etc.  I think a lot could have been cut or reworked to make the story flow better.

I think when it's all said and done, the pacing was the main problem for me.  It was just a very slow read that I couldn't hang in with for the long haul.  I understand other people really loved it, so this may just be me.
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