Monday, June 18, 2018

Wild Blue Wonder - Review

Wild Blue Wonder

By: Carlie Sorosiak

Expected Publication: June 26th 2018 by HarperTeen

368 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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Goodreads description--There are two monsters in this story. One of them is me.

Ask anyone in Winship, Maine, and they’ll tell you the summer camp Quinn’s family owns is a magical place. Paper wishes hang from the ceiling. Blueberries grow in the dead of winter. According to local legend, a sea monster even lurks off the coast. Mostly, there’s just a feeling that something extraordinary could happen there.

Like Quinn falling in love with her best friend, Dylan.

After the accident, the magic drained from Quinn’s life. Now Dylan is gone, the camp is a lonely place, and Quinn knows it’s her fault.

But the new boy in town, Alexander, doesn’t see her as the monster she believes herself to be. As Quinn lets herself open up again, she begins to understand the truth about love, loss, and monsters—real and imagined.

I'm sure if you're a regular reader of my reviews you are aware that I struggle with books that bounce around chronologically. I realize that there is a strategic storytelling purpose behind choosing to write this way most of the time. And frequently I find that the switching makes sense by the end of the story even if it never becomes my favorite part of any book. Yet any time I start a book and I come to a chapter break then realize we've jumped forward or backwards in time I have to fight the urge to put the book down. In the case of Wild Blue Wonder, I actually did end up putting it down for about two months because of this.

Despite the timeline jumps I enjoyed the overall story. Probably the best thing about presenting this particular story in this way for me was that Quinn's guilt over Dylan's death wasn't annoying to me. Of course these emotions are understandable given the circumstances. Survivors guilt is a real thing. Unfortunately this is also predictable. But because we don't know the actual details of how Dylan died until close to the end of the book the amount of Quinn's actual contribution to his death was unknown. This allowed the balance of knowledge to be in Quinn's favor instead of me feeling like I knew something Quinn didn't.

The process Quinn goes through to heal was surprisingly what drove the book for me. Usually the romance is the driving factor but not this time. The contrast between where her family was before Dylan died versus where they are now was brilliant. Carlie Sorosiak did a great job showing how grief in events like this affect so many more people than you imagine and in ways you don't expect because not everyone handles it the same way.

Speaking of the romance... this just wasn't my favorite part. I liked Quinn. I liked Alexander. I liked how he helped her move on. I even liked how different Quinn's relationship and feelings were with him from her relationship and feelings for Dylan. Each relationship is different and Quinn isn't the same person that she once was. That being said...I didn't really get the warm and fuzzies from Quinn and Alexander. He was actually a little hard for me to picture. His heritage was so prominent through the story and dialogue, yet I had a hard time picturing him or hearing his (what should have been) adorable British accent.

Now...one frustration for me was that Wild Blue Wonder checks nearly every politically correct box possible (mostly for diversity's sake which I'm not a fan of--diversity for the sake of diversity, not diversity itself). Gay characters? Check. Feminism? Check. Vegans? Check. Hippies? Check. This story truly reminded me of a meme I've seen before. I'll insert it here:

Usually the PC issues I mentioned would have been a huge annoyance to me. For some reason they only slightly annoyed me. However the combination of the jumping around chronologically with the PC pieces plus my lack of enthusiasm for the romance make Wild Blue Wonder a 3.5 Star read for me. I still enjoyed it overall, but I didn't love it. Have you read Wild Blue Wonder? What did you think? Let me know!

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