Authors: Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Page Count: 368
Release Date: August 20th, 2013
My Rating: 1 TURTLE: A bad read. I barely got through it/ didn't finish it.
Veronica doesn't think she's going crazy. But why can't anyone else see the mysterious blond boy who keeps popping up wherever she goes? When her best friend, Mackenna, invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Veronica jumps at the opportunity to leave her complicated life behind for a few months.
But the Scottish countryside holds other plans.
Not only has the imaginary kilted boy followed her to Alloway, she and Mackenna uncover a strange set of rings and a very unnerving letter from Mackenna's great aunt—and when the girls test the instructions Aunt Gracie left behind, they find themselves transported to a land that defies explanation. Doon seems like a real-life fairy tale, complete with one prince who has eyes for Mackenna and another who looks suspiciously like the boy from Veronica's daydreams. But Doon has a dark underbelly as well. The two girls could have everything they've longed for...or they could end up breaking an enchantment and find themselves trapped in a world that has become a nightmare.
Review:This was a Did-Not-Finish, and I read almost 150 pages of this book before I had to stop reading. When I went to ALA a few months back, before I got onto the floor I promised myself I'd only pick out books that looked interesting to me as if I were in a bookstore. But when someone was standing there, handing out free copies to people as the authors signed the books, I couldn't help myself, and hoped I'd be pleasantly surprised even though the synopsis didn't grab me. I'm not the type to idly give up books if I'm not enthralled by page one, but from the beginning had some very big issues with this book. I kept on going for as long as I could, but eventually it got to the point that I'd get mad whenever I started reading, so I had to stop.
The plot was not original. We've all read the story of the normal teenage girl who gets swept off to a magical kingdom, but that wasn't a problem in and of itself. I don't mind unoriginal plots if the writing and character development makes up for it. It did not. The writing was jerky, one moment the teenage voice of the main character narrating first person, and in the next riddled with overly flowery similes and metaphors. This did not make the writing sound sophisticated, it made it sound clunky and didn't feel true to how a regular girl would tell a story. Another thing that really ticked me off about the writing was the authors' choice to write out phonetically the accent of everyone who wasn't American. Once the characters were in Doon, Veronica and Kenna were the only ones' whose dialogue was written correctly. For example, when anyone calls Veronica's name, and they are speaking in a Scottish accent, it is spelled Verranica. Your is replaced with yer, very with verra, and so on. We all know the kilt wearing bloke has a brogue, so just say that and be done with it! I know that if I were reading a novel with a Scottish author who wrote American dialogue phonetically that would be just as annoying.
The book switches POV between the friends, Veronica and Kenna, and out of the two, Veronica was a bit more likable, but only by a little bit. pretty much every chapter both of the girls would say how beautiful their bestie was and how awkward and ugly they were, and then it would switch. Vee is into dance and books, and Kenna is a Theater buff who thinks her friend is a nerd for liking to read. implying that her friend is a bit weird for being so smart and describing people with descriptions like they're "a goth kid with a Jedi complex". (I didn't reference that with a complete copy, but that's just an example of the type of stuff she said). Of course for Kenna liking Star Wars is weird, but it's totally not weird for her to use exclamations like "Sweet Baby Sondheim" and "Holy Hammerstein". At first I thought it would be neat to have a character into musicals, but when that character's only basis for comparison in life is how this is like that scene in Phantom, or that person is like Mary Poppins, it got old fast. (Also on a side note, one thing that personally really bugs me is when YA books reference other YA books, which this one did. Yes, I realize if I found myself at a magical school I would probably compare it to Hogwarts, but it bugs me when YA authors do it because it feels like they are standing on other writers work instead of creating their own awesomeness. But I digress).
Besides the writing and the characters, what bothered me most about this book was its lack of verisimilitude, it just didn't feel real to me. Yeah, verisimilitude in a fantasy, I know, but that's important for me. Even if there is a magical kingdom, I still want it to feel real while I'm reading about it. I can speculate why it turned out that way, but frankly it doesn't matter, it only matters that it is how it is.
I obviously can't recommend this book, but according to Goodreads a lot of people are liking it, so maybe you will. I have my preferences, and they are unique from everyone else's, but if some of my complaints are the types you have about books too, than I would suggest moving on to another novel.