Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers….the place to be when you’re on the hunt for your next read. It’s time to break out the party hats because we have several authors and their latest works celebrating their bookish birthdays today, however as I am only one person and I don’t REALLY like to clutter the site with TOO many reviews in one day, we’re celebrating them one at a time. Sound good? Sure hope so….the way I see it, we’re simply extending the celebration. Anywho, back on topic here….
Today we are celebrating the book birthday of a novel you can’t help but see…and it, or rather the main character, definitely sees you. Can’t you feel it? Someone is watching your…every….step…but not in a malicious way, because really….they just want to be friends. *-* Ready to discover this book birthday celebrant? Here we go. Today’s book of choice is…..
From the publisher…
Sophomore Cammie Bliss has long been labeled a stalker by her peers, but when a cute new boy named Toby arrives at her small town high school, Cammie has a chance to be "normal." Trouble is, she can't really help herself and she's up to her old tricks of "intense observation and following" pretty quick. Making things worse, her younger brother is dating one of the most popular girls in the school, her parents have separated, and her dad has begun to watch their house most nights. Cammie has simply got to figure out why she behaves the way she does, and end it once and for all.
I really really REALLY wanted to like this one. No, really! The cover with all its bubble gum pink fun, the “cutesy” pink binoculars that could only belong to our stalker-ish friend, and the combination of ransom note and curly font used for the title…it was all screaming read me read me read me….we can be the BEST of friends…please? Unfortunately, the reality wasn’t quite what I anticipated.
Now you know how I roll here (Ha! Sorry, still sounds funny for me to even me typing that phrase…^_^), EVERY book has some merit no matter how much or how little the journey was enjoyed, after all they are someone’s pride and joy….and this one is no exception. Aside from the attention grabbing points mentioned above, I really enjoyed a few of the side characters. Toby for instance is somewhat along the strong silent type, the reasons for which we learn later on, but his aloof nature and random appearances make him interesting to follow (no…not stalk, follow as in piece together his character profile). Rosie, Cammie’s best and tolerating-of-her-habit friend is a lesson in balance. While she tries to manage her hearts desires with that of the actions expected by her religious parents, she walks the line so many dutiful daughters face with her head held high.
Let us not forget Mr. Mendez, her English teacher and staff in charge of the school papers, The Quill and The Gazette. He encourages all his students to become better writers and express themselves to their full abilities….at least those with an ear predisposed to listen…but with Cammie, there’s something more. He suggests a tactic to address her status with the student body that could be both beneficial or become one of those blow-up-in-your-face moments she’d rather forget. Does she follow through? What was the outcome if so? Sorry, can’t say…you’ll have to read it to find out…but I will say that of the adults encountered, he’s the one that shows the most interest in his student’s well-being. Speaking of adults….let’s talk about parents….
We briefly touched on Rosie’s duo but haven’t addressed Cammie’s situation. Her home life certainly fits the description of a “situation” and I must say that when looking at it apart from the rest of the story, it serves as a well played plot point that will resonant with many young readers. Simply put…they’re having trouble in paradise that may (or may not) result in a separation or far worse….it’s not a point often dealt with in Children’s or Young Adult literature, but I think the way it was carried out here along with the resulting fall out was rather well done. It’s hard for kids at any age dealing with the potential breakdown of their family structure, but it’s good for them to see that although things may end up different than before….they will still be loved, cared for, and most importantly, to not blame themselves. Now on to the not-so-good-for-me parts….
I could never really connect with the narrator, one Cammie Bliss. Was it because she had this obsession with stalking people til they either broke down and confronted her, ignored her into boredom or became uninteresting to pursue? Ummm, I’m not certain. I mean, I’ve never done it nor had any friends who had but I don’t think experiences reflecting what the character is or was doing is the sticking point; if it was, no fantasy, paranormal or magical tale would stand a chance (unless you’ve ACTUALLY gone to distant worlds, seen a vampire in person or cast a spell….. *-* *blink*….perhaps those are best kept to yourself….*whistles*). I think for my perspective she was trying so hard to unknowingly find herself or a way to fit in with everyone else, she made herself inaccessible. Might that have been the point when considering the ending? Maybe…but it took away from the reading adventure for this reader.
All in all, not a bad story, just one to go into with your eyes wide open. Consider the main character as a magnifying glass….she’ll show you the hidden details she uncovers about those around her til she eventually is burned like so many little ants in the sun (poor ants!). Eventually her questioning gaze is turned upon herself thanks to a severe intervention from those who truly care (not who you might think either), but even so it’s one day at a time; certainly a good tale to warn those guilty of this habit to go cold turkey in a hurry.
ARC for review courtesy of Ksenia at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. (THANKS!) For more information on this title as well as the entire collection of books available from Farrar Straus Giroux (an imprint of the aforementioned), feel free to visit them online, or follow along on Twitter!
Until next time….remember, no stalking….and happy reading!