*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
This book was strange, but I liked it. A summary of my thoughts would be that the weakness of the book was the plot, but the strength was the characterization and voice of the main character, Jonah. But now for a little more detail…
Jonah was so socially awkward sometimes that I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry. But mostly I just kind of loved him for how frank, straightforward, and honest he was, or at least tried to be, even if he did stumble over his words sometimes when it came to his feelings for Stormi. And as I said, I thought his characterization and development were great and loved his voice. That was what kept me hooked and reading.
Stormi did not make a good first impression on me though. I still can’t say I liked her by the end (her cryptic-ness especially drove me crazy), but I disliked her less when I saw more of her actually being there for Jonah.
I loved the inclusion of disability (Jonah had scoliosis and epilepsy) and how it wasn’t the focus of the story but still had an effect on Jonah and his life. In other words, Jonah was first and foremost a person, but one with some added difficulties. It gave me new insight into the struggles, experiences, and strength of those who have these particular disabilities. As much as I am aware and try to not take things for granted, I still do, and it’s books like this that remind me of that and give me more respect for what others go through. I will note, however, that *MILD SPOILER ALERT* the epilepsy ended up being some sort of divine curse and was suddenly cured at the end. Having disabilities unrealistically disappear isn’t ideal, but it at least doesn’t change the realism of it and the insight it provided up to that point. *END SPOILER ALERT*
There was also this whole air of mysteriousness and a biblical aspect involving curses and the idea that we pay for the sins of our fathers. There was a surreal feel to some of it too, certain things that weren’t entirely realistic. They might have tied into the biblical aspect, but I’m not knowledgeable enough on that to know. So I’m not sure how to classify this book, but between that and Stormi’s visions, I went with paranormal even though there wasn’t a whole lot of paranormalness.
The only real problem I had was that I still don’t understand what Stormi being a prophet had to do with anything, or why it had to be her to uncover the town secret, or why they had to go on a trip to find this out, or why Stormi was so scared of Tres, or why Q wanted Tres, or why Stormi and Tres were so cryptic, or why the Hive was part of the story at all… In other words, the plot was weak and it made sense in that I understood what was happening, but it didn’t make sense in that I didn’t see the reason for a lot of things and a lot wasn’t really explained. I guess the book wasn’t so much about the plot though, it was just about a short period of time in Jonah’s life when everything suddenly changed, he went on a kind of adventure, he discovered a lot of truths about himself and the people in his life, and his perspective shifted. It was the story of Jonah coming into his own.
So overall, I enjoyed this book and am really glad I read it. I’m so torn about the rating though because I feel like I ought to give it 3.5 stars for the strange plot and the unnecessarily cryptic characters, but, if I based my rating on pure enjoyment, I would give it all 4 stars because I found myself drawn in by Jonah and not wanting to put the book down!
Anyone who likes books that focus strongly on characterization and transformation rather than plot. Anyone who wants to read about a main character with epilepsy and scoliosis.