Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters I Just Didn’t Click With

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is characters that I did not click with. I don’t really have many main characters that I don’t click with, but I’m the type of reader that finds it hard to connect to a story if I don’t like the characters. So a lot of the titles mentioned below are ones that I gave relatively low ratings to (though there are some that had such impactful stories that I fell in love with them anyway).

These are in no particular order:

America Singer (The Selection trilogy by Kiera Cass):
I don’t think I need to elaborate on this choice. America is just the most frustrating main character, who seems to just have everything work out in her favour even though she’s not really anything special.

Dorrigo Evans (The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan):
The Narrow Road to the Deep North was the Man Booker Prize winner of 2014, and this is a book that I actually did enjoy despite not really connecting with the main character. I gave this 4/5 stars. I thought the side characters were all so strong in this book and I preferred to read about them over Dorrigo.

Molly Barlow (99 Days by Katie Cotugno):
There was little to no character development in this book and I just didn’t like Molly at all. She never learnt from the mistakes she had made in the past and I didn’t feel sorry for her at all. I found her to be frustrating, annoying and just dislikeable.

Margo Roth Spiegelman (Paper Towns by John Green):
Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Enough said.

Greg Gaines (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews):
This was a book that I could not connect to at all (I gave it a 1 star rating) and I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I couldn’t connect with Greg’s character. I didn’t find his voice to be that funny – in fact, in my Goodreads review I wrote “I found Greg to be a little bit boring, wimpy and emotionless“.

Taylor Gray (Risk by Fleur Ferris):
I didn’t click with Taylor at all, probably because she’s a 15 year old narrator with a very juvenile voice. This is definitely a book aimed at a younger audience, and as a 20-something year old it just didn’t click with me.

Cadence Sinclair Eastman (We Were Liars by E. Lockhart):
An unreliable narrator, with kind of an annoying and slightly juvenile voice. While I liked the concept of the book, I didn’t enjoy the characters at all.

Aaron Soto (More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera):
I gave this book a high 4.5 – 5 star rating because it gave me all the feels. But I didn’t really click with Aaron, the MC. He was a little bit boring and I couldn’t really relate to him at all in the first 100 pages of the book. I started to like him a little bit more after the first 100 pages, but he left a bad first impression.

Lief (The Sin-Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury):
Lief is one of the love interests in this new trilogy (series?)…and let’s just say, he’s not a part of the pairing that I like in this trilogy. First, his name is part of a plant; his name is foliage… But that aside, his character is very mysterious. He was very eager and persistent from the first time we meet him and I found myself thinking “what’s with this guy?” so many times throughout the book.

Charlie (Even When You Lie To Me by Jessica Alcott):
I could not stand Charlie, the MC, in this book at all. She was very broody, immature and self-deprecating. I thought she was a very pathetic character and there wasn’t any character development at all. I didn’t understand the point of the book and I gave it 1 star.

Wrap Up: August 2015

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August was another great reading month for me. I read a total of 18 books, with a good mix of female and male authors (and a lot of David Levithan!). There was also a mix of books that I did and didn’t enjoy. I have written reviews of almost all of these books. Click on the links to read in-depth reviews of each book!

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Reading summary header

1. The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak – Brian Katcher  4 stars
A fun, nerdy and fast-paced contemporary about Ana and Zak who are searching for Ana’s brother at a sci-fi convention.

2. After Dark – Haruki Murakami  35 stars
A thought-provoking story following a couple of characters on their ‘adventures’ in the middle of the night. Slow-paced with a hint of magical realism.

3. Sunkissed – Jenny McLachlan  3 stars
A fun, summery, coming of age story set on a Swedish island.

4. The Shadowhunter’s Codex – Cassandra Clare & Joshua Lewis  3 stars
A guide to the Shadowhunter world, with illustrations and commentary from Clary, Jace and Simon.

5. Every Day – David Levithan  5 stars
A great diverse book about A, who wakes up in the body of a different person each day. He falls in love with the girlfriend of a boy whose body he inhabits and he has to find his way back to her each day.

6. Two Boys Kissing – David Levithan  45 stars
Another great LGBTQ+ book from David Levithan. This book is poignant and important. It explores different aspects of what it means to be gay, comparing previous generations to the current generation.

7. Sinner – Maggie Stiefvater  25 stars
A companion novel to The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. This could be read as a standalone but I would recommend reading the trilogy first.

8. Six Earlier Days – David Levithan  4 stars
Six short stories about six days in A’s life, before the events in Every Day. I’d highly recommend these if you enjoyed Every Day.

9. A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab  45 stars
Set in parallel London’s, this book follows Kell who is able to travel between the different Londons, and smuggles items from one to another.

10. Polarity in Motion – Brenda Vicars  35 stars
When a nude photo of Polarity emerges online, she has no recollection of how the photo was taken. She finds herself yanked from her family and entangled in a world she knows nothing about.

11. The Sleeper and the Spindle – Neil Gaiman  45 stars
A wonderful reimagining of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, with beautiful illustrations by Chris Riddell.

12. Snow Like Ashes – Sara Raasch  5 stars
A brilliant fantasy world, with some great characters and a fascinating magic system. This was a fantastic first book to a trilogy.

13. The Boy Most Likely To – Huntley Fitzpatrick  45 stars
Another great contemporary book from Huntley Fitzpatrick. This is a companion to My Life Next Door, and can be read as a standalone. I’d recommend reading MLND first though for all of the character building (and also because it’s a great book)!

14. Wonderland – Robert McKay  4 stars
A sci-fi retelling of Alice in Wonderland. This book was fun and crazy in the best ways.

15. One – Sarah Crossan  45 stars
A story, written in free verse, about conjoined twins and what it means to share a body and a soul with somebody else.

16. Risk – Fleur Ferris  2 stars
A serious and dark Aussie YA book about online safety and the dangers of meeting strangers online.

17. Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella  45 stars
This is Sophie Kinsella’s first YA novel and it was so great! It was a heartwarming and funny story about family and finding yourself again after adversity.

18. The Lover’s Dictionary – David Levithan  4 stars
Written as a series of dictionary entries, this is a story about love. It’s a non-linear story, written in second person, and explores the positive and negative aspects of love.

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This month I did four Top Ten Tuesday posts. You can check out my posts by clicking the links below.


If you’ve done a wrap up for this month, I’d love to see what you’ve read.

Review: Risk by Fleur Ferris

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Publisher: Random House Australia
Release date: June 30, 2015
Format: Paperback
ISBN13: 9780857986474
Pages: 279
Goodreads || Amazon || Booktopia || Bookworld

Taylor and Sierra have been best friends for their whole lives. But Taylor’s fed up. Why does Sierra always get what – and who – she wants? From kissing Taylor’s crush to stealing the guy they both met online for herself, Sierra doesn’t seem to notice when she hurts her friends.

So when Sierra says Jacob Jones is the one and asks her friends to cover for her while she goes to meet him for the first time, Taylor rolls her eyes.

But Sierra doesn’t come back when she said she would.

One day. Two days. Three . . .

What if Taylor’s worrying for nothing? What if Sierra’s just being Sierra, forgetting about everyone else to spend time with her new guy?

When Taylor finally tells Sierra’s mum that her daughter is missing, Taylor and her friends are thrown into a dark world they never even knew existed.

Can Taylor find Sierra’s abductor in time?
Or should she be looking for a killer?

MY THOUGHTS

2 stars

Risk is the August pick for #bookclubaus, so I decided to pick it up so that I could join the twitter chat, which is taking place August 28 (tonight!) at 7:30pm AEST.

This is a novel that deals with a very important topic in society today, which is online safety. It raises awareness about the dangers of meeting people online because they may not be who you think they are. It also deals with grief and survivor’s guilt. I think online safety is definitely a topic or issue that teens should be made aware of, and I appreciate that the author tried to target this book to a younger audience who might be susceptible to the charms of online predators. However, I had quite a few issues with the book.

I had a very hard time connecting with the characters from the very first page. The characters are 15 year olds, but they felt very juvenile and immature in their behaviour and the way they spoke. They seemed to be falling in love with everyone they saw, and I didn’t enjoy that at all. Taylor goes from being completely uninterested in the guy they met online to imagining herself married to him within the span of just a couple of pages. It irked me because I think even 15 year olds have more sense than that. A lot of teenage drama did get left behind after Sierra went missing and the book turned more serious, but we still see glimpses of it throughout the book. Most of the side characters were underdeveloped. I wanted to know about their experiences and feelings on the situation, but I felt like their main role in the novel was to create conflict in Taylor’s life.

I was not a fan of Taylor or Sierra. Sierra was portrayed as someone who was very unlikeable, even to her friends, so it was a little bit difficult for me to even care about what happened to her. I liked Taylor a little bit more than Sierra, but her thoughts and feelings fluctuated a lot and it was just hard to be in her head. She seemed to disregard the feelings of those around her and justified all of her actions and decisions by saying that Sierra would have loved it/thought it was glamorous, or that Sierra would want her to be happy. I thought Taylor was a very frustrating protagonist and I didn’t feel like her character went through very much development. She compares herself to Sierra throughout the whole book and by the end of it, I wasn’t really sure how she had grown as a person.

I was also not very impressed with the plot. I had gone into the book knowing that it wasn’t going to be a thriller but the story fell short for me in terms of where it went. Most of it was very predictable and it didn’t feel like a very original story. I also didn’t like the romance that was in the book. I thought it was unnecessary and I would have much preferred it if the book had focused on friendship and supporting each other through grief.

The style of writing was also a little bit of an issue for me. The writing felt very basic and was composed of too many short sentences. I felt like it was too direct. Instead of discovering for myself what was happening, I was just being told the main messages of the book and what Taylor was thinking and feeling. I’m not opposed to simple writing if it’s used effectively, but I thought the writing in Risk was too assertive and was almost telling me what I should be thinking and feeling. I think it just goes back to the “show, don’t tell” rule that we learn in school.

I’m glad that this book is out there and I do think that teenagers should read it to learn more about internet safety because what happened to Sierra in the book could happen to anyone. But while I did like the message in this book and the awareness it raises, I thought it was a little bit of a missed opportunity.