Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sad Girls by Lang Leav | A Book Review

Sad Girls by Lang Leav | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

Sad Girls
by: Lang Leav

Publication date: May 30th 2017
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genres: Literary Fiction, Coming of Age

“Your first love isn’t the first person you give your heart to—it’s the first one who breaks it.”

Sad Girls is the much anticipated debut novel from international best-selling author Lang Leav. A beautifully written and emotionally charged coming of age story, where young love, dark secrets, and tragedy collide.

School is almost out for Audrey, but the panic attacks are just beginning. Because Audrey told a lie and now her classmate, Ana, is dead. Just as her world begins to spin out of control, Audrey meets the enigmatic Rad—the boy who could turn it all around. But will their ill-timed romance drive her closer to the edge?

This is my first time to read a Lang Leav. I have heard that her previous books of poetry were a hit. I was so thrilled when I was approved by Netgalley to review this book. This is her first novel. Finally, I will be able to experience her writing prowess.

Which do you want to hear first? Good news or the bad news?

I will start with the good news because I think the bad ones would likely overpower the good ones. Yes, I have a few good reactions to this book. I also want you all to read this whole review, so starting with the bad things will likely lead you to not read through the rest of this post.

The one thing that I could clearly remember was painstakingly rooted to the pages. I was, in some bizarre way, unexpectedly, wanted to finish the whole book. I wanted to get to the end. I wanted to know how all this turned out. And I am giving myself a pat in the back for making it through the last page, even if my subconscious was telling me to just let the book go. I ended up finishing this at 3am. I get an "A" for patience and perseverance.

I also like the concept of a"toolbox". It means we are all like a toolbox. We add in stuff and build on it. The more tools you have, the more you fare in life. This made a lot of sense to me and I am actually thinking of applying this school of thought.

I'm trying to wrack my brain for some other positive things to say.

Sorry, I can't seem to find anything more. Let's just go ahead to the not so positive things I have for this book. First, the lack of emotional connection. That's the most important thing for me. For the author to be able to reach out and touch the readers. To make me feel like I am an active participant in the story. That I have a stake in the outcome of the events and how the characters were changed or evolved in the story. I kept trying to locate that elusive string that tugs at my heart in this but unfortunately, could not find a single thread. I am not sure why. The main character, Audrey, went through something tragic and traumatic, but I just can't seem to empathize with her. In some way, her character even felt disconnected to her own experiences. And until now, I can't seem to fathom why.

Second, how the story ended. I think it was not right. It can't be! Audrey and Rad, didn't feel like two main characters in a story worthy of emulation or inspiring at all. These two did not make amends for all the hurt and pain they have caused. Yes, they never intended everything to turn out so badly and for lives to be lost resulting from their actions or inaction, but I can't seem to swallow that they just let everything be. There was no resolution. I don't think they deserve to be together yet. Rad should have paid the price for what he did or failed to do. And Audrey should have been the one to move Rad to do the right thing. Audrey should have owned up to her part in all of it also. I think their characters have both been tainted because of what happened and the lack of redemption at the end of the story was just so frustrating and horrible. I can't accept it.

Third, I don't know how the characters came to be created but I think they were the worst I have encountered ever. Main characters are supposed to be inspiring and models of transformation and survival. No matter how flawed and how bad they were at the start, in the end there should at least be some kind of "Eureka" moment where one of them inspired the other to be selfless and even offer him/herself up as the sacrificial lamb just to make amends for all the wrong done. I think, there was only one "Eureka" moment in this story and it was for Audrey which turned out to be a false-alarm. In Audrey's moment of clarity, she came to realize the impact and the magnitude of what they had done but then it evaporated just as quickly as it appeared. She resolved that she could not ignore her and Rad's love and their idea of moving on and starting over is just so twisted. Bury everything and just move on. Do these two have a conscience?

Fourth, this story repeatedly talked about love. The real, all-encompassing, forgiving and great love but it portrayed it in such a distorted way that I hope no one will ever mistake it as a good example. I think there are a lot of ways this book could have ended which would have resolved all the questions of morality, values and other factors. A better ending could have saved this and I would have at least felt that all is not totally lost.

And lastly, I simply do not want to comment on the rest of the characters. I think they should have been given more interesting personalities and more exposure. After all, the title did say sad girls, right? Plural. It seemed that this just focused on one sad girl--Audrey. In some ways, some of the characters were bad examples and simply did not help in the formation of the two main characters' well being and outlook in life. 

I am really sorry but I think this book gets 1.5/5 sad faces. I am so distraught to give this rating. It was just sad how this book turned out. I did hear a lot of disappointed reviews about this but I assure you, I was not in any way influenced by them. I tried to be as objective as possible, even though it was easier to just not write a review at all. I think, this book failed me. Maybe like everyone else, I will favor her poetry books better. I have about two of them lined up in my TBR.

You are a toolbox, and you have to add stuff to it and build on it. I think the more tools you have, the better life gets.
- Lang Leav, Sad Girls - 

Thank you again, Netgalley for the review copy.