Monday, May 15, 2017

Reviews: Always Watching, and They All Fall Down

This was one of those books that started stronger than it finished. A psychologist encounters a patient who keeps speaking about a commune-the very same commune the psychologist was a part of as a child. Could it be something at the commune that caused the psychologist's intense claustrophobia and the patient's suicide attempts?

I'm always intrigued by a mystery surrounding secrets from the past, and when you add in a mysterious leader who may have turned his commune into a cult, that's a book I have to read.

But Stevens just added too much else, and too many other characters. There's her brother who was also a commune member, his former best friend, the homeless daughter with secrets of her own who may or may not be back on drugs, the stepson photographer who pops in and out, all the members of the commune past and present, the psychologist's other patients, her co-workers, and the cops.

All these characters bring their own subplots, and too many subplots take away from the main plot. This book has a lot of potential, but could stand from some editing. There are some really well-done surprising reveals, but they unfortunately get overwhelmed by all that is going on around them.

Similar to the book I reviewed above, this is another book that suffers from trying to do too much, and overstretching an interesting premise. When the narrator, a self-described Latin nerd, finds herself number five on the legendary "Hottie List" at her school, her whole world changes--including finding herself narrowly escaping a series of almost-lethal accidents.

It turns out she is not the only girl on the list who keeps finding herself in danger. As girls around her fall victim to their own mysterious accidents, in the order they are found on the list, our narrator must find a way to solve the mystery and save herself.

Where the book lost me was towards the end. It's such an intriguing concept-ten people on a list, mysteriously dying one by one in ways that could never be proven as murder-but the end of the book gets, to put it bluntly, ridiculous. The way St. Claire chooses to resolve the mystery just doesn't work for me at all.

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