NOTE: I received this ARC from the author. Thank you!
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You know how there are books which, when you finish reading them, you like everything about them and you end up going over them again and again? And then there are those other books which, after reading them, you feel like you just wasted a good amount of time on them.
It's sad to say that in my opinion "The Year of the Great Seventh" belongs in the second category. I really wish it doesn't because the author is super nice, but ... it is what it is and I can't do anything about it.
So, my disliking of this novel began at the very first page and continued to the last one. I wasn't grabbed, you know? I even took notes in the margins of whatever was wrong, which has never happened before. *sigh*
There are several problems with the novel and here's the list I can remember:
1. Unnecessarily long descriptions, which are repeated two to three times in the span of a chapter. I thought this may be a one time thing, but no. It happens throughout the entire book. There are places where we're provided with information that doesn't concern us at all, and is repeated several times (re-worded, of course).
2. There's lack of time tracking. One moment we're in the now, the next (quite unpreparedly) we're 3 weeks in the future. Then we're given the short version of those 3 weeks (as if they weren't important) but it's clear that indeed they were important because it's in that time span that we could've gotten to know the characters and see how the relationships between them grow.
3. The entire novel is mostly (~80%) tell and only the rest is show. I am truly tired of repeating this, but here goes again: I actually want to see what happens to the characters instead of being told that such and such thing occurred. This is no freaking summary! When a girl gets together with a guy, I want to see it happen, not learn that oh, they've been together for the past month now. Seriously, what the h! This is the novel itself, so write it how it's supposed to be written!Nothing personal, Teresa.
4. The characters (and unfortunately I do mean ALL of them) lack depth, individuality, backbone, logical reasoning etc. The lead female, Sophie, doesn't ever react realistically in any situation. Nate, the bad boy, is more absorbed in himself than to pay attention to anyone else. Sophie's friends only think about partying and don't even know what's happening with her. In fact, that whole friendship thing feels a bit forced between them.
So, a little background here. Sophie has had a crush on Nate forever. Then he notices her and pushes her away. Then all of a sudden we're told they're together even though just a paragraph ago they were actively ignoring each other. And what do you know, an ancient Egyptian prophesy gets triggered by the sheer presence of Sophie near Nate. And to think that they'd been going to the same school for at least a couple of years... surely they had been in the same room at some point?
5. The supposed mystery/secret/whatever isn't very interesting at all. It wasn't explained understandably so I had no idea what was happening and why. I just felt kind of lost because everything seemed to be forced unnaturally together. There was no chemistry, if you like. No flow.
6. The writing style reminded me too much of National Geographic articles, where there's no emotion whatsoever. I think this is the main reason why I didn't feel any attachment toward a single character.
And here's where I am going to stop, even though there's a lot more to say. I just don't want to waste any more time on it. I'm really, truly sorry.
My rating is