Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot

15 July, 2012 Reviews 34 comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Abandon by Meg CabotAbandon by Meg Cabot
Series: Abandon #1
Published by Point on April 26th 2011
Format: Paperback
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher
GoodreadsGood BooksAmazon
zero-stars
New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

I’ve heard a lot about Meg Cabot’s books. And it may surprise people to know that this was actually my first Meg Cabot novel. I’m not completely unfamiliar with her works. One of my favorite movies of all time was adapted from one of her novels– The Princess Diaries. All that being said, I think I made a huge mistake in having Abandon pop my Cabot novel “cherry”.

Insta… love.

Guys, this book has INSTA LOVE!

Deep breaths, Stephanie. Deep. Breaths.

It took me till page 300 to realize why I felt like I wanted to give up reading Abandon several times. And really that’s pathetic that I didn’t see it. I mean, I really should have peeped that way earlier. But it’s not my fault because Abandon was so hard to even follow thanks to Pierce’s convoluted ramblings about her pathetic life and her intermittently reminding herself to check yourself before you wreck yourself. This book left me confused, angry and HIGHLY disturbed. Therefore, this review will have major spoilers. Deal with it and let’s explore these emotions.

“What Just Happened?”

It’s probably not a good sign for a reader to finish your novel and not have a single clue what the point was. Not even an inkling for what you were trying to accomplish. And believe me. I wanted so much to understand and like this book, but the narration ran circles around my wee little mind. The entire first half of the novel has Pierce alluding to several past scenes as if the reader knows what was going on. Pierce would say something like, “Oh and I don’t want anything to happen like it did that one time.”  And I’m sitting here thinking, “Oh yeah? What? What happened?! Tell me already!” I get what Cabot was trying to do, but it didn’t work for me. And it definitely didn’t need to go on for majority of the book. That was just cruel and wrong. It made me incredibly frustrated. Now, the parts that did manage to make some type of sense were cancelled out by Pierce’s sheer stupidity. Saw dust for brains. I really don’t want to say it, b-b-but…. BELLA! *gasp* And that, my friends, brings me to the anger.

“What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate!”

No, what we have here is just a failure. Pierce is one of the worst heroines I’ve read this year. Now, keep in mind I read both Starcrossed and Fifty Shades of Grey so far, so that’s saying something. And not a good something. Moving on. Pierce meets John, a death deity, when she is a just seven-years-old. Later, when she dies at age fifteen, she sees him in the Underworld  and he recognizes her too. They have a brief conversation which goes a little something like this:

“Omg, it’s so cold and wet here.”

“Hey, you wanna get outta here?”

“Sure, whateves.”

*poof*

So what does her do? He whisks her away to his bedroom, dresses her in a white dress and gives her the biggest diamond he could steal find. Shit you not, that is exactly how it goes down. Pierce, realizing something is not right (Though I’m not sure what gave it away… maybe because he told her she could never leave. Possibly.), throws hot tea in John’s face and runs down a staircase that magically transports her back to the living world. *slow blink*

Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Meanwhile, a year and a half later…

They meet again… in a graveyard, where this poor, unfortunate soul seems to hang out. Of course, that doesn’t stop our heroine from asking the all important, universal question: “Why me?” Are you kidding me? But I have to remember, the problem with Pierce is that she’s so stupid, she doesn’t realize how stupid she is. Instead of running away from the crazed stalker, she apologizes to him for throwing the tea in his face. You know, when she was busy escaping. Pop quiz: What do you get when you mix not-so-bright heroine with a gallon of selfless? Mary-Sue.

So, yeah, the graveyard. Here they are, in the rain, having a “lover’s spat” over… well, I’m not exactly sure why they were fighting, but John ends up getting semi-violent, throwing her diamond and demolishing the cemetery gate. Lovely guy. Do you see why this book made me angry? Here we have yet another YA heroine with a controlling, violent male, trying to not be involved with him, and she’s apologizing for getting away. Unbelievable. It was at that point where I really didn’t think this novel could get any worse. Until, of course, I got to the disturbing part.

The Return of Pedobear (I wish I were joking):

Somehow the cemetery sexton gets involved and Pierce opens up and confides in him. She goes on and on about how he randomly has shown up in her life, how he scares her, how he’s a nightmare, how bad things happen when he’s around, etc. Do you know what he says to her after that?

“So if I might make a suggestion for all our sakes, why don’t you try”–his brown eyes were pleading–“just being a little sweeter to that boy?”

Yes, that’s right girls. When you are in an abusive relationship, trying to escape, it’s not his fault. It’s totally your fault for not being sweet enough to him. Because there is no such thing as personal accountability and it is your job to make sure he remains calm enough to not destroy you and everyone you love in a hurricane. But don’t worry. He loves you. Gag me.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Excuse me while I rage across my living room.

Ohhhhh… but it gets better. I mentioned before how I didn’t recognize the insta-love until page 300. That might seem really strange. And it is. It’s mostly because Pierce and John spent so much time trying to “non-avoid” each other and argue that I completely didn’t see it. Well, on page 300 John confesses his love to Pierce. His LOVE, people.

Pause.

Love? What love? In all of their encounters (six by my count, including when she was seven), they probably spent no more than thirty minutes together at a given time. And I’m being generous. And then I remember Pierce’s dear, sweet granny. The one that took her to the graveyard when she was seven, in hopes that John would run into Pierce and–I hope you’re sitting down for this one–fall in love with her. At seven-years-old. That’s why he kidnapped her, because he was in love with her. He stalked her because he was in love with her. He got violent when she ran away screaming from him because he was in love with her. He fell in love with her at seven-years-old.

Shall I check myself before I wreck myself now too? HUH?!

Image from Chatch Kuma

Eeny, meeny, miney, moe. Catch a kiddie by the toe…

Then in order to protect her from the Furies, he kidnaps her again (to the bedroom!), changes her clothes (AGAIN) and tells her she must stay there forever with him. But don’t worry it’s for her protection. Totally legit. And this time he even remembers to lock the door. She smiles. The end.

I know that this is a retelling of Persephone. I get that. But this is in no way, shape or form okay with me. Abandon had everything I hate in a book. Controlling, violent, abusive male. check. Submissive, passive heroine with very little common sense. Check. Insta-love. check. Mary-sue. Check. Poor plot. Check.

Why? Why do I continue to see the same awful tropes over and over? Why are impressionable, young girls consistently being marketed these types of book? Please, please make it stop. Give them strong, independent heroines, loving love interests, safe and healthy relationships.

Dear Literary gods,

Hear my pleas. Can you do me a solid and provide more alcohol and chocolate if I continue to run into these books?

A finished copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Thank you!

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
I'm a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker and fangirl, YA Books Central editor and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery. Find me on GoodReads.
Steph Sinclair
Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord http://t.co/usBuR6KVwM #CuddlebuggeryArchive - 2 hours ago

34 Responses to “Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot”

  1. Ikhlas

    It’s too bad that this was your first Cabot book! I’ve been reading her since I was a kid (the Princess Diaries books) and I love her! But I do have to agree with you, this book was just one hot mess after another.

    Wish you luck on your next Meg Cabot adventure!
    Ikhlas recently posted…Recipe: New York Style CheesecakeMy Profile

    • Stephanie Sinclair
      Twitter:

      @Ikhlas:

      It’s such a shame I didn’t enjoy it. I really enjoy Greek myth retellings. I still don’t even understand the whole “Coffin Night” thing. There was so much going on, but nothing really connecting to one another.

  2. Molly

    Thank you. Thank you. That was beautifully said. This particularly Cabot book is the rotten apple in the barrel. It’s funny because usually her books contain meaningful relationships with kick ass heroines (if you ever feel up for giving her another chance read her Mediator or 18000 Where R U series). The sad thing is, is that despite his obvious and huge faults I thought John was one of the better characters in this book mainly because Pierce is so….so…..meh. The sequel is a bit better more things are fleshed out, but honestly upon reread I sort of feel cheated with the whole book. Like if they cut half of it and combined it with the sequel I might like the trilogy better.
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    • Stephanie Sinclair
      Twitter:

      @Molly:

      I’m hearing a lot about her Mediator series, so I think I’ll definitely be checking that out. I saw a review of the second book and the reviewer said the same thing you did, that it was better. Unfortunately, I was left so turned off by this book that I probably won’t continue on with the series.

  3. Amy @ Turn the Page

    Urge I hate that this was the book that introduced you to Meg Cabot because it’s awful. I hated it, in fact I haven’t liked several of her newest books. This one in particular was so far removed from her usual stuff that I got the impression she had written it to follow a trend or at her publishers insistence or something.

    BUT her earlier works are great. I highly recommend The Mediator series or 18000 where r u series, same as Molly who commented before me. They are great fun and have strong, sassy heroines who kick butt. I really hope you check them out and don’t let this one put you off forever!
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    • Stephanie Sinclair
      Twitter:

      @Amy @ Turn the Page:

      Oh, I’m definitely not totally put off! That’s probably about the 5th time I’ve heard high praises for The Mediator series. It’s quickly becoming a new must read for me.

      It seems that sometimes the publishing world does follow trends here and there. I’ll give Cabot credit for stepping out her box and trying something new, though, even if it didn’t work out, IMO.

  4. kara-karina

    Fantabulous review! I agree 100% percent. When I read Abandon, I read it just after The Goddess Test and both books were pretty horrible, as in containing my “favorite” set of clishes: insta-love, TSTL heroine and moody controlling “this is for your own good” hero. The only thing that was missing in Abandon – was love triangle. For the life of me, I can not see what other people see in these books. They were just unbelievably bland and irritating. However, I agree with other comments, Meg Cabot other series (I’ve read her chick lit) are awesome. She is really really funny in that kind of genre.
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    • Stephanie Sinclair
      Twitter:

      @kara-karina:

      Oh, boy. The Goddess Test. That’s another one I’ve heard some not so great things about. And I was surprised to see that there wasn’t a love triangle! I thought for sure it was just going to pop out of nowhere at the end and further ruin the book. Smh. But that looks like the only good thing.

  5. Adam A.
    Twitter:

    Aw, Steph, this is a horrible way to pop your Cabot cherry.

    Abandon is probably one of her worst. You should read The Mediator instead. It’s a series of six (?) books and the main character in that one is infinitely better than Pierce the Spoiled Brat Oliveira.

    Anyways, it’s one of my favorite series ever and Suze seriously kicks ass. The relationships in the books are way better than Pierce and John. Abandon is like Meg just got handed a story idea and she phoned it in.

  6. Shelagh

    It really is a pity that this was your first Cabot read Kat. I agree with Adam, I recommend her Mediator series as a good place to try again when you’re feeling brave enough.

    I didn’t hate Abandon, but I can definitely see your point. The disjointed style and pace of the book worked for me at first, but got old quite soon.
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    • Stephanie Sinclair
      Twitter:

      @Shelagh:

      I always felt like I was missing something while reading Abandon. I kinda felt like everyone was getting the punchline to the joke and I was just the odd ball out. I will be checking out her other works to see how I fair. Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. Mari - Escape In A Book
    Twitter:

    Maybe we should both try Cabot’s Princess Diaries, Stephanie? I’m taking your word for it and am not ever reading Abandon.

    Your review reminded me of my very first Cabot novel which I read last year, Insatiable, and it was just horrible. It was about something as original as *drumroll* VAMPIRES. I didn’t finish the story and here’s a little taste of why: “Writing about vampires isn’t for everyone and just because a lot of authors jumps on the bandwagon doesn’t mean that everyone should.” I was that impressed… So there you have a warning as to another Cabot novel you do not want to read. Stupid heroine CHECK there as well btw.
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  8. AnimeJune

    Eeek. I *hate* Insta-Love. Mostly because it’s often used as a convenient plot excuse for behaviour that makes no sense but needs to further the plot – they can essentially have characters behave idiotically, unpredictably, or out of character to suit the plot and it can all be explained by “She acts this way only because she’s CRAZY IN LOVE!”

    And, of course, it’s almost always THE FEMALE character who gets this treatment. Curse our flimsy emotional ovaries!

    And the fact that it’s a remake of the Hades/Persephone myth is no excuse. That’s a troublesome myth to begin with BECAUSE of the whole abduction thing – that’s not to say it can’t be done well (and it definitely has – gods of death can be sexy!), but I think that because of its rapey origins it needs to be treated more carefully. Like stories that retell “The Taming of the Shrew.”

    All in all, great review! Totally agree!
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    • Stephanie Sinclair
      Twitter:

      @AnimeJune:

      Thank you!

      I think both of the characters suffered. Pierce suffered from TSTL syndrome because she wanted to “fix” him. *eyeroll* And he was viewed as the controlling bastard, but only because he loved her so hard.

      There is one book that I think did the Persephone story well and that is Everneath. I really loved that one. The main character resists her captor and has a loving boyfriend who she tries desperately to return back to. Also, I hear The Dark Wife is good to. I think that one is a lesbian retelling. Interesting, right?! I haven’t read it, but it received high praise from a few reviewers I really trust.

  9. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    This one really was awful. You need to read some old school Meg Cabot. I’ve found her to be fairly hit or miss. Personally, I also hate the Princess Diaries books, though I like the movie a lot more.

    The Mediator series is where it’s at.

    Persephone myths seem to go wrong VERY easily.
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    • Stephanie Sinclair
      Twitter:

      @Christina (A Reader of Fictions):

      That’s what I’m afraid of, that I will hate the original series. Persephone myth retellings have so many things working against them. You can either romanticize it or not. Cabot chose to romanticize it and it just didn’t work.

  10. Kara @ Great Imaginations
    Twitter:

    I kinda want to read this one again now so I can read it with your points in mind. I bet I wouldn’t like it as much now. I read this one at the beginning of my blogging career, when my tastes hadn’t fully developed yet. NOW I hate instalove. Oh well. I’ll read book 2 so maybe I can revisit it through that. Anyway, another fantastic review. :)
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    • Stephanie Sinclair
      Twitter:

      @Kara @ Great Imaginations:

      Thank you! I think you would hate it! There a so many books I had read before I really submerged myself in YA that I would probably really dislike nowadays. But I hear book 2 is better, so hopefully you will enjoy it!

  11. Neyra

    Well that’s too bad. I actually liked this book when I read it last year, but that was before I read about kick ass heroines and non abusive relationships with neurotic bf’s and less than ideal plots! I’ll be reviewing this book soon, and on to the next installment, see how that goes. lol As always, great review Stephanie :)

    Neyra-

  12. CarolineAndrus

    NOT Meg’s best work. Read “The Mediator” series instead. MUCH better. Kick ass heroine who, yes, of course, has a love interest…. but there is actually an obvious plot, you can read each book as a stand alone and they MAKE SENSE(!!!) Actually, to be honest, ONLY read The Mediator. I also enjoy the “1-800-Missing” series (I believe has been re-released as “Vanished”) which is completely ridiculous but I still love it…. and the first Princess Diaries book is pretty cute. Abandon was pretty bad, so was “Overbite”…. and “Avalon High”…… So…. read The Mediator and judge her on that book alone lol 

  13. 2012: #48 – Abandon (Meg Cabot)

    [...] “Abandon had everything I hate in a book. Controlling, violent, abusive male. check. Submissive, passive heroine with very little common sense. Check. Insta-love. check. Mary-sue. Check. Poor plot. Check.” — Cuddlebuggery Book Blog [...]

  14. Cecelia

    Gah, this makes me sad that you hated it so much! It’s worse because your supplying all this criteria on why you hated it so much and that’s all the exact same stuff that annoys me in books too! I love Meg Cabot, always have since I read the Princess Diaries in middle school, (and I’m 22 now so that’s a long time) but I couldn’t possibly read another supernatural romance novel after twilight ruined it for me. That’s why I haven’t picked up this book. I still might though, for a laugh since you gave it such a terrible review haha! I’m slowly getting back into the genre, but I feel like I find way too often in those books is that insta-love element and that throws me off so much. I’d suggest you read Meg Cabot’s adult books, like ever boy’s got one, or queen of babble because at least those are really funny. The main character’s always a bit of a drama queen but that’s what makes it a fun summer read.

  15. Reading101

    It may not have been one of her best books, but I personally REALLY enjoyed it and can’t find out to see what happens next. I understand what was happening and could follow it perfectly fine. Maybe it is YOU who should try to follow it. Maybe it is YOU who should upgrade her brain and work on understanding things like these.

  16. irish_banana

    Yeah. What Reading101 said: Upgrade ya brain, yo. For realz, homie.
    From this point on you shall be called Steph 2.0
    RME. Whatever.
    This was a fair assesment of this book. Snarky, sure, but it’s your damn blog and you can say what you want. I’m pretty sure that a law or something…
    This isn’t Meg’s best work. Honestly, her YA stuff is very miss for me. But her adult stuff, specifically the Heather Wells series? AMAZING. I’ve never laughed so hard reading in my life. Try that.

  17. irish_banana

    Yeah. What Reading101 said: Upgrade ya brain, yo. For realz, homie.
    From this point on you shall be called Steph 2.0
    RME. Whatever.
    This was a fair assesment of this book. Snarky, sure, but it’s your damn blog and you can say what you want. I’m pretty sure that a law or something…
    This isn’t Meg’s best work. Honestly, her YA stuff is very miss for me. But her adult stuff, specifically the Heather Wells series? AMAZING. I’ve never laughed so hard reading in my life. Try that.

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