Mediocre

Mediocre

Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana. 

Hello and happy Wednesday. Yes, I’m super witty, so of course, I had to reference the title of the book I’m reviewing (and ranting about) today. Sadly, it didn’t live up to the expectation, and if I do say so myself, it wasn’t even close to what I was anticipating. I am talking about Great by Sara Benincasa.

I read this book between April 5th and April 7th, 2019 and gave it two stars. Like I said, my expectations before reading this novel were high because this is a retelling of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and I love retellings and really enjoyed the original novel, especially because it was super extravagant.

There is one redeeming quality to Great, and it’s the relationship the main character/narrator/ Nick Carraway has with her father. I don’t think we see enough good parent-children relationships in Young Adult, and it was interesting to read about a daughter who doesn’t hate or resent her father.

I think the author was trying way too hard, and she totally didn’t need to. For one, this story features an LGBTQ* romance, which clearly deviates from the original story. I am all for representation and diversity in fiction, but not when there is an obvious hidden intention. To me, making the main romance a lesbian one wasn’t anything more than an attempt of a rebellious gesture that didn’t really pull through. I mean, yes, two females become a couple, but they are both white, as well as all the other characters in the story, so it’s not even an accurate representation of diversity. Also, I could write an entire essay about how the fact that a homosexual relationship does not necessarily imply that the members of the couple are both homosexual, but I won’t because I really don’t want to make this too long.

So, yes, the story just felt forced because it was trying very hard to emulate The Great Gatsby. Now, before you roll your eyes at me and tell me that was the whole point of the novel, I think it is important to understand that a retelling is still an independent story. What I mean by this is that the author might take elements from the original novel and put them into their own, but they also need to add new elements because that is where the success of the retelling lies.

The author might have had a good idea, to begin with, but it was not well-executed. I felt like I was reading a young adult novel written by a much older person, who was still stuck in the ’70s or something. Actually, had this novel been set in the ’70s, it would have worked way better than it did. I just pictured the narrator as Vivian from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt reminiscing about her youth instead of a teenager talking about her summer.

Honestly, if you’re torn between reading this or The Great Gatsby, I’d go for the original novel. It was a way easier, faster, and more enjoyable read altogether; and if the LGBTQ* aspect of the story was what drew you to Great, I am sure you can find something better out there. This really isn’t worth your time.

Have you read any retellings that you really liked? Tell me about them in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila

The Witch is Not Dead!

The Witch is Not Dead!

Hello and happy Wednesday. Sorry if the title of this post got you rolling you eyes at me, but trust me, it’s not really a Dorothy Must Die spoiler. I mean, maybe it is, if you think hard enough, but then you have to know the characters and the story, and then it wouldn’t really be considered a spoiler, would it?

I finally finished the first novel by Danielle Paige and I feel that I have a lot to say about it, so hopefully I remember it all and share it with you.

I started reading this story in October last year and then at some point, after having advanced just a little bit, I put it aside and only got back to reading it earlier this year. After finishing it, I did read some reviews on Goodreads, which you know I normally don’t do, but some comments were in accordance to things I felt while reading.

There was this review that caught my eye because the reader said they didn’t really connect with the story, and that was a feeling I had at first and that caused me to stop early on. This book is mostly set in Oz, so we have the magic world and the fantasy and the characters, but I feel that this re-introduction to Oz was made at the same time with the whole explanation of what had happened after Dorothy had left to Kansas, and I that was just too much, at least for me, you know? Like I was given a ton of information about Amy, the main character, and her life in Kansas and then what took her to Oz and then the story of Oz and it was a lot to process.

Of course, once I gave the book a second chance and started reading bit by bit, I had time to process each piece of information and really understand everything I read. This is when I started to be genuinely interested in the story and Amy and, of course, Dorothy. By the title we already know that somebody wants Dorothy dead, but the how and the why are just so interesting.

The second half of the novel was what got me super obsessed, to the point where I would wake up earlier than usual and read until I had to get up and start getting ready. I was totally into reading about Amy’s training with the Order of the Wicked, and the descriptions of Dorothy’s palace, and I fell in love with Nox, and I just wanted to keep reading. It became easier for me when I was done with the first half.

Now, this is the first book in a series, which means that some stuff has to remain unresolved for the following books to make sense. That is obvious. I was sort of upset, however, with the way Dorothy Must Die ended, because it was as if it did halfway through a scene. That upset me because I know that once I take the next book in the series, I’ll have to go back and at least read the last couple of pages again or else I’d be lost. I feel that more stuff could have been resolved and it wasn’t, so there’s that.

Are you into retellings? Is there any I should read? Let me know!

Happy reading!

Love, Miss Camila