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.Arise by Tara Hudson
Series: Hereafter #2
Published by HarperCollins Australia on July 5th 2012
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
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Amelia—still caught between life and death—must fight for every moment of her relationship with the human boy Joshua. They can hardly even kiss without Amelia accidentally dematerializing. Looking for answers, they go to visit some of Joshua’s Seer relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia ends up with more questions than answers…and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together.Wandering through the French Quarter, Amelia meets other in-between ghosts, and begins to seriously consider joining them. And then she meets Gabrielle. Somehow, against impossible odds, Gaby has found a way to live a sort of half-life...a half-life for which Amelia would pay any price. Torn between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the netherworld choose for her.
For me, there’s two kind of books I give low ratings to. Books that I thought were bad, or books that I simply didn’t enjoy. This is the later of those two options. It’s not that Arise was necessarily bad, but that it wasn’t for me. For starters, I believe I mentioned in my review of The Treachery of Beautiful Things, that I need to pay more attention to book covers in order to avoid the whole purity thing. Once again, I clearly should have anticipated a big sex issue with this book based on the puritanical white dress and girl holding some type of greenery. I’m not sure who in our culture decided that white dress and foliage equaled hymen – but they did a really good job convincing everyone else (yes, the ferns represent death, but work with me here, people!). I was thrown off by the ghost part, because I honestly didn’t anticipate a book about a ghost in love with a boy would be all about how to have sex. It just wasn’t my thing – and particularly wasn’t the kind of book I wanted it to be. Which must be really annoying to fans reading this review and going:
It’s not that the writing was bad. I didn’t feel like there were any real technical issues the author suffered from, but the plot took a significant amount of time to kick into gear, which made keeping my interest difficult. Because, you know, if someone isn’t about to have illicit smoochies or die on the very page that I’m reading then I’m bored. And this book started out well because it started out with illicit smooches. Between ghost girl and her boyfriend. So I was simultaneously impressed and disturbed.
But then we get to the main source of tension and part of the driving plot – they can’t…how do I put this politely? They can’t seal the deal, understand? It’s over before the cigar’s lit. The party’s started but the guests can’t come. I have no clue what I’m saying. Look, they can’t bone, alright?
So whilst other, more involved stuff is happening, in the background there’s all this tension on can they, or can’t they do the horizontal mamba. This is probably going to be very interesting, involving stuff for people who aren’t me. The point was always moot because it’s not my bag, baby. I’m more of a The Ghost and Mrs Muir kind of girl. I like my ghost stories to be all about that insanely secret, entirely emotional/intellectual bond. I want that bittersweet, mournful love where it’s already lost before it’s even started. For a dead girl, Amelia sees a lot of action. For starters, her and her boyfriend can make out and touch. A good portion of his family can see/talk to her and they even go out dancing together at a bar at one point. That felt like cheating a little. Being almost entirely intangible, immaterial and unable to touch or shape the world around you is one stable aspect that makes ghost stories powerful. Take that away and I feel like the whole story loses it’s best, most emotionally stirring aspects.
Maybe it’s an obsession YA has with being perfect and getting the perfect ending. When Vampires can come out in the sun and sparkle, when miracles are pulled out of a hat, when ghosts can go clubbing, they start to lose their interest for me. Which is a shame, because monsters and supernaturals, as they are, are the perfect metaphor for the awkward, disturbing, intimidating, frustrating experience that is puberty. Instead you just have pretty people with pretty problems and that’s simply doesn’t hold my interest.
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