Release Date: January 6, 2015
I recently received a free ARC of this novel, and I wish I hadn’t. Contains Spoilers
If I have to hear about David’s crooked grin one more time, I might go crazy. Cara, the main protagonist, does not fail to tell us often about how much she loves David’s crooked grin any chance she gets. That phrase is in this novel probably at lease 101 times. But, even though we know about his crooked grin, I cannot honestly tell you anything else about David’s appearance other than he is attractive. This is just one of the few issues I have with this novel.
So, to really get started, let’s start with a short synopsis. The idea of this book sounded intriguing to me, along with the cover. This is the story of Angels and Demons leaving a girl stuck in between the two. She must battle demons to save the man she has fallen in love with as well as her best friend. This is the story we’re supposed to get. What Elliott actually gives us is a weak, whiney protagonist that can’t do anything for herself and is only focused on this new man in her life over everything that is happening around her.
So, step one: character development. There is none. Here’s what I can tell you about Cara:
- She drinks too much diet soda.
- She potentially has dark, long hair.
- She rarely eats.
- She is in love with David
- She likes to play scrabble on her computer.
- She REALLY loves whales
- She changes her appearance for a man
This is literally all I can gather about this one-dimensional character. This is a problem since she is supposed to be the one that readers are able to relate and sympathize with. Cara is a teen who lives only with her mother (we don’t get much on her father (I think he might be dead but I’m not sure since he was only mentioned once?)), who she is very close with, except when she starts dating David (something her mother doesn’t approve of). She sits in her room all the time playing scrabble against her computer and drinking diet soda (not even sure what kind, just diet soda). She also only eats an apple and drinks diet soda every day for lunch. I don’t think a YA writer should be promoting and glamorizing anorexia. That’s not cool. Eating is cool. So, based on this we can guess that she’s skinny? And I think it was mentioned once that she has long, dark hair, although I can’t be 100% sure.
This is not just her character, though. Every other character is as one-dimensional as the main one. There is absolutely no depth development happening to anyone in this novel. The only things I can tell you about David are that he has a crooked grin and wants to teach. That’s literally it. And, well, that he’s super mature for only being 21 and has no problem dating a 17-year-old girl while he’s still trying to figure out his life. That is literally all I know about this guy. Then, there’s Cara’s best friend Rachel, who we are told is peppy and likes make-up and clothes. Oh, and one of my least favorite descriptions, “has curves in all the right places.” Ugh. How about we stop shaming body types that don’t fit into societies ideals. Thanks, that’d be great.
So, on that note, let me talk about my least favorite thing about Cara on this list. She literally changes her appearance for a guy. Before she meets David, it sounds like she wears comfy clothing, doesn’t wear make-up, and isn’t trying to impress anyone (this is a Cara I would have liked to read about). But, after she meets David and he asks her on a date, she immediately invites Rachel over to teach her how to do her make-up so she looks pretty and has her mom take her shopping for all new “girly” outfits. This literally makes me sick. Ladies, please don’t ever feel the need to change yourself for a boy. It isn’t worth it. And this is not the only sexist part of this novel. This whole book is filled with blatant sexism. Cara literally cannot do anything for herself and constantly needs saving, even though her friend Garren (who she met by hitting him with her car in the first few pages) continues to ensure her that she’s exceptionally strong. But, she can’t even get out of a truck by herself. Elliot writes on page 307, “David helped Cara down from the cab of his truck.” Like girl, trust me, you can handle this. But hey, I guess the Save Me title is accurate. There is also the fact that Cara has to constantly reassure David that Garren is. Just. A. Friend. Like girl, you are allowed to be friends with people of the opposite gender without having to constantly justify yourself. David does not sound like a keeper to me, despite the constant warmth she feels radiating between them every time they touch (also mentioned at least 101 times).
And, believe me, this book is way too focused on just how much Cara loves David. That is basically all this novel is really about. Even when Cara’s best friend Rachel is possessed by a demon, Cara can’t seem to be bothered to think about anything besides her ending up with David, since they do not originally start out together. Within the first couple chapters, Cara falls overboard on a whale spotting tourist ship that she volunteers for, David saves her, her and David go on a date, and Cara has fallen in love with him, but then she discovers he’s student teaching at her high school, so they can’t date (forbidden love and all ya know). But, if you think that’s bad, it gets worse. David is only 21 and is already student teaching. I’m sorry, but I went to college and was friends with many education majors (being an English major I had many classes with future teachers) and there is absolutely no way David would be student teaching at age 21. So unrealistic. But that’s fine, I guess, because about half way through the novel he decides that he doesn’t want to teach high school anymore, so he quits his student-teaching “internship.” (Student teaching is not an internship; it is student teaching and is required to graduate.) Cara is planning to go to college in Seattle and David had signed up for a few classes (even before he knew him and Cara were getting together) so that he could try and win her over when they both get to college (him for the second time), but since he’s already done that, they get to go to college together. How cute. And everything’s fine now because David wants to teach university, so he signed up for a few classes to do that. Does Elloitt not realize how this all works? You don’t just sign up for a few classes and can teach university. Wow. Please do some research before blindly writing about the education system. Plus, this was all WAY too convenient.
So that’s basically what this plot is actually about and some demons are thrown in to try and sabotage this beautiful love story. Mainly just one demon is the focus though: the demon of jealousy and revenge. It’s referred to by both names even though it’s first implied as the jealousy demon and second as the demon of revenge, but that’s just one of the many inconsistencies in this book. The one that really bothered me was the fact that Cara starts out driving a truck that belongs to the company she volunteers for (Captain Rick’s truck, who is like a father-figure to her, but we never hear much about him.), but then we find out her car, not Rick’s truck, has been vandalized and taken in for repairs. These two vehicles seem to be interchanged a few times. Cara’s mom also gets her a new car for her 18th birthday (as well as some new clothes and a brand new tablet loaded with books she wants to read (spoiled much?)) and this car is also used interchangeably with Rick’s truck. So I’m just not really 100% sure what Cara drives, but I guess that’s not as important as her and David’s relationship. So, anyway, I was talking about the plot and the demons. The first demon was summoned by a girl named Amber who went out with David once and wanted to kill Cara for being the one to win David over instead of Amber. That is literally the plot. Also there’s another piece of this story that says Amber stole Cara’s first boyfriend and then made him commit suicide, but that’s not elaborated on; instead, it’s brushed under the rug for the issue at hand: Crazy-demon possessed Amber who wants nothing more than to kill Cara all because she’s dating a boy that Amber went out with once. Once again, so believable.
Even though this all sounds like it could potentially create some tension to get you through this novel, the writing Elliott delivers most definitely does not create any sense of tension. The writing is mediocre and also told from third-person narrative, which also takes away from the urgency of the story. We do not get directly inside Cara’s mind, instead we get a lot of “Cara felt” or “Cara thought.” This does not help the plot along and really takes away from so much from the emotions Cara is feeling that we could see if we were actually inside her head, especially since she is the only character’s head we see inside, so the third-person narrative is literally pointless.
This book was overall way too convenient, lacking of any major developments, was written with writing that was mediocre, and didn’t accomplish anything worth reading. It seems that Elliott was trying to write the next Twilight, so maybe if you are one of the unfortunate souls that actually like Twilight, you might actually like this awful novel as well. But, overall, I wouldn’t recommend this text to anyone.
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