Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review: Another 365 Days by K. E. Payne

Life’s sweet when you’re seventeen and in love, right? Clemmie Atkins certainly thinks so! She’s still madly in love with her girlfriend, the hot and super-confident EMO, Hannah Harrison, and her irritating sister, HRBH, will soon be leaving home to go to university.

But just when it seems that life is finally pretty darn cool, a new distraction at school threatens to upset everything, and the return of the enigmatic and sexy J with a startling confession confuses things further...

Clemmie has another 365 days to try to get her life back on track...but will it be enough?

YA books with LGBTQ characters have been on the rise recently. They’re definitely not enough as far as I’m concerned, but at the same time, they get published more and more and I’m very optimistic about their breakthrough potential. I’m always up for a good contemporary YA with gay/lesbian characters, which was why I was totally stoked to read “Another 365 Days”.

Hence why it was such a disappointment for me when I gave my e-galley up halfway through.

How do I explain myself? How do I justify this book’s DNF status, when it neither offended me on a particular level or did anything particular to irritate me, when I’ve soldiered till the end of books like “Halo” and “Of Poseidon”?
Maybe it was the fact that this is a sequel. Perhaps it would have made more sense if I’d read the first book.

Maybe it was the writing. Granted, it read like something someone might write in their diary, and it was true to life. But… here’s the thing… true-to-life diary format is not an easy thing to pull off in a novel. There are certain things you need to pull off to make it interesting, and for the most part, this novel didn’t do them. In fact, at parts it got a little annoying and… self-centred. There just wasn’t enough material there to make a compelling read.

I think what really did it for me, though, were the characters. Aside from Clemmie and Hannah and maybe Alice, we get to spend very little time with the other characters. They only show up briefly to fill out their part in the story and then disappear without development. I realise part of this is due to the format, but there are ways to pull this off without making the cast feel underdeveloped.

Ultimately, I think the problem was that I just didn’t care enough for the story and characters to see it through till the end. Not now, at least. New fans of contemporary YA stories might enjoy this, people looking for LGBTQ YA might enjoy this, but for everyone else, I would like to recommend Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling books or Laura Goode’s “Sister Mischief”.

Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publishers via NetGalley.
Note: Image and synopsis via Goodreads.