I don’t think that terrified is quite the right word to describe how I felt about this book before I read it, but I was definitely nervous. I was prepared for my emotions to be messed around with and my life to be changed at least a tiny bit. Maybe that’s why I felt slightly disappointed – I was expecting such big things that it was almost impossible for this book to live up to that.
I think the main reason that I didn’t connect with this book as much as I wanted to was because I just didn’t connect with the protagonist, Melinda. I don’t need to always connect with the MC, but if I don’t, I tend to have an amazing supporting cast to fall back on, and this book focused on Melinda much more than its supporting cast. There were some interesting secondary characters, but I basically had to like Melinda or I was left feeling a bit disappointed and disconnected.
That being said, I can see why so many people love this book. It had some really important messages, and the fact that a book in 1999 was reminding us that being date raped while drunk is not consent (something that so many people don’t understand today, fifteen years later) makes me very happy. I felt sorry for Melinda, but I just wasn’t able to sympathize with her because I couldn’t connect with her.
This book took me a while to read – not because I didn’t like it, though. I’m not quite sure what it was about this book, but I would be enjoying myself whenever I was reading it and would mostly forget about it whenever I wasn’t. That meant that I had to read large chunks at a time to make progress, and I’ve just often been so busy or had other books I was more interested in to read large chunks at a time.
I flip-flopped between liking and being slightly annoyed with Cam. She could be quite funny and sarcastic, but sometimes that sarcasm went too far and she was just sardonic and prickly, which I suppose is quite understandable if you’ve barely just graduated high school and already know that there’s a good chance you won’t make it to college thanks to a cancer that has nearly destroyed you already.
There were plenty of cute, quirky moments happening throughout this book, as well as some interesting secondary characters, so I really did enjoy myself for the most part whenever I was reading it. I’m not quite sure what I thought about the ending yet, even though I finished it last night – did I kind of love it for going in an unexpected route, or would I have liked a clichéd happy ending better? Either way, this was an interesting book that I did not regret reading, and now I’m looking forward to checking out Wendy Wunder’s The Museum of Intangible Things (well, I already was, because the cover is amazing, but now I have a good reason rather than a shallow, “your cover is pretty,” reason).
When I was looking for 2014 debuts to get excited about, this was one of the ones that really caught my attention. I mean, a girl who has cancer, does a bunch of not-so-nice things because she’s going to die, and then learns she’s in remission and has to deal with all the consequences? It sounded like a really interesting debut if done right. Unfortunately, it wasn’t done in a way that kept me attention to the very end.
Part of my apathy toward this book can be blamed on the mixed hype. There were some people who really loved this book, and then there were some people who said they had trouble with it and didn’t really like the main character. Now, I don’t like to think of myself as someone who has to like the main character, and there are definitely books where I enjoy the story but don’t like the protagonist, but it’s a lot easier for me to like books when I like the main character. I just didn’t care about the main character in this story, so I had trouble caring about her story. There was also a lot of back-and-forth timeline-wise and I sometimes felt like I was getting mental whiplash.
Finally, after reading this book for a week or so and still only 5-10 chapters into it, I realized that it just wasn’t the book for me and returned it so that someone else who does enjoy it can have the chance to read it.
I really thought I was going to finish this book. Sure, it was over 400 pages in the ebook alone, and the ebooks I read tend to be at least a hundred pages shorter than their physical copies (although I’m not quite sure how that happens – are the layouts that different?), but I had a system where I read a chapter a day and would be done the day before or after it was due, which meant I might have to double up a day or two but still seemed manageable. And sure, there were also some days where I was busy with my other books and school and not wanting to read it, so I got a little behind. And yes, the chapters are incredibly long and the fact that it jumps around so much could be annoying and confusing, especially when the present day chapters refered to things that happened that haven’t been revealed in the past yet so the reader is left confused. But I really did think I could finish it, just one page at a time.
However, after I had to return it and then check it out again and was attempting to finish the same chapter I’d been on for a week or so, I realized that I was just too bored to care. I’ve definitely realized that adult books can often have meandering plotlines with minute details about the characters’ lives, but if I care about the characters, like I did with J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, then it doesn’t matter. Unfortunately, I only really cared about one or two characters in this story and decided to skip ahead to the last chapter and saw that things did not seem to turn out well for said characters, so I decided I was done. I’ll continue searching for an adult book that I can truly enjoy, meandering plotline and all.