Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Book Review - Jaded

So firstly, let me explain a little about why this review is appearing on blog.

You see, so many wonderful people have read and reviewed by book and shared it on their blogs and spread the word, that I wanted to start giving back to the same community that’s been helping me. So I am going to start sharing the books I’ve read and enjoyed on this blog.

I was actually given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review – so let us begin.

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Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00II0UUSQ

Jaded - Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie
(From the Back Cover
Jade has spent her entire life within the confines of the eye-color- obsessed Nirvana commune.
She dreams of experiencing freedom but travel to the Outside is forbidden. Besides, she’s a dutiful daughter who never breaks the rules. As her seventeenth birthday approaches, however, she realizes just how little she wants to follow the commune rules. She doesn’t want to undergo another eye color surgery, or immediately choose a life partner, or follow her parents’ life paths of teaching or wine making.
 In fact, her green eyes suit her just fine, she’s never even been on a date, and she’s passionate about photography. And yet she’s resigned to do as she’s told because it’s easier for her to close her eyes and follow orders. 

Her Grandmother Ruby’s murder is the catalyst that causes Jade to open her eyes wide for the first time in her life. She’s devastated yet determined to find the killer and their motive. With help from her mysterious friend Tyrian, and Peaches, the commune leader’s sweet daughter, Jade unearths dark secrets which include her mother’s illicit affair, her maternal grandparents’ escape from Nirvana, and a plethora of murders. To make matters worse, someone is hell bent on ending Jade’s mission for the truth, and that someone is most likely the killer. 

Jade can’t continue conforming to an evil society and yet she fears the Outside is just as corrupt. If she resolves to flee and is caught, the punishment is banishment to the slave cabins…and blinding. 

Although Jaded is considered a young adult dystopian novel, adults will be able to relate to Jade’s plight.)

Jaded  is ultimately the story of a girl figuring out who she is and what she wants from life, but with the added twist of growing up in a secluded commune, where some seriously dodgy things are happening and she’s facing the overwhelming pressure to choose her ‘life path’, a choice that cannot be changed once it’s made. In Nirvana, a person can only retire when their child chooses to follow in their career path, so the main character Jade, must decide before her next birthday which life path she wants, or take the third choice which is to leave her family and everything she’s known and try to escape to the Outside. The punishment if she gets caught is her sight.

So firstly, the things I didn’t like/struggled with:

1)      There needs to be a certain willingness to accept the basic premise of the book, which is, I have to admit a little unlikely. The commune is completely cut off from the outside world and has been for a significant length of time. Which in the modern day is hard to imagine. But it also meant that I struggled to figure out exactly what technology they did and didn’t have.

2)      I never did figure out exactly the significance of eye colour in the commune. I wonder if this is going to come in the next book, but it left me feeling a little unsatisfied. It could be as simple as a means to control the people, but I felt it had to have more than that, and it was the question I was most asking myself throughout the book and it was never answered.

In fact if I had any problem with this book it was that – not enough questions were answered. There was a big reveal when Jade finishes reading her grandmother’s diary, but the reader never finds out what. It is just mentioned as ‘a lot of horrific things’ or similar rather than any details. I think it might just be because this is a series and therefore some secrets have to be kept for the later books, but it did leave me just a little frustrated at the end of the book.

However those issues aside, I really did enjoy this book, for a number of reasons.

Jade is an interesting character with a lot of good qualities. I particularly liked that even when she starts considering leaving the commune she does worry about leaving her family behind when in a lot of YA books the MC runs off with barely a thought for their parents.

The romance is done very well. It really is. There is none of the insta-love so prevalent in a lot of YA books. Instead it’s a really nice, sweet development between two characters who’ve known each other for a long time. Ty, the male lead, is sweet and loyal with just enough protectiveness without being over bearing.

The overall plot and story are really interesting, the characters are very well developed for the most part and I feel there’s much more to all of them than meets the eye, and I honestly am looking forward to reading the next book. Hopefully I’ll get all the answers I need!

I’d recommend this to anyone who love YA but wants something a little different to the usual tropes and clich├ęs. The mystery/thriller element really made this stand out for me.

I would give this just under 4 Stars. It wasn’t quite a 4 for me, but not low enough to be a 3.
About the Author
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Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie lives in Warrenton, VA with her husband, two cats, and two dachshunds. She's a middle school counselor, graduate student at Longwood University, (pursuing a degree in School Library Media) blogger, short story and YA novel writer. When she's not working, she's traveling or dreaming of traveling. She's been to 39 states and is planning a 9 state road trip with her mom in the summer of 2014.


Keep Calm and Write On: http://kristyfgillespie.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristy.feltenbergergillespie?filter=3

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