Monday, July 26, 2010

To Be Mona by Kelly Easton : D

Title: To Be Mona
Author: Kelly Easton
Genre: Realistic Fiction (YA)
Publication: 2008 by Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 213
Ages: 14-15+
Grade: D

Sage Priestly is seventeen, and she longs to reinvent herself -- to strip away the fat, the past, the crazy mom, the unpaid bills. She longs to be her own version of the gorgeous and popular Mona Simms.

Sage starts dieting and exercising. She gets blond highlights and throws away all of her black clothes. Bit by bit she transforms herself. This is deeply troubling to her best friend, Vern, who is secretly in love with Sage just the way she is. But the boyfriend Sage wants -- the popular jock Roger -- suddenly notices her. And when they start dating, Sage thinks her life is turning around.

So why isn't Sage happier? Yes, Roger is a little too controlling and pushy, but isn't that what boys are like when you date them? What is it about the image Sage has created that just doesn't fit?

Smart, honest, and tough, Sage is a teen with more going for her than she thinks, but she still has a lot to learn.

General: I took this book out hoping for a really good read. The book looked like it had the potential to be really good, really deep, thought-provoking, powerful, you know. But...I'm sorry to say, I was disappointed. I debated whether or not to actually write a review of it. But I read somewhere on one of those blogger advice lists or whatever, not to be afraid to write a bad review. So...here goes.

This was a strange book to write a review for. There were things I loved and things I absolutely hated. When I started the book, I absolutely fell in love with Kelly Easton's writing style. It was funny and very tasteful. I immediately expected to love this book. But I was let down more and more as I read on.

The book has a small number of pages, and rather large print. It certainly was an easy and quick read. During the whole book, there were a lot of hypothetical questions such as "If you were a color, what would you be?" or "If you were a country, which would you be?". Those the author really took into depth. I liked those a lot.

Plot: The plot seemed to go everywhere and nowhere at once. Things were happening, but it was just...boring. She developed a relationship with her new jock boyfriend but it was just...uneventful and weird. She fell away from her guy friend who secretly loved her but it was just...dumb. Things happened, definitely, but it was just terribly uninteresting.

Characters: Talking about the characters is more difficult to do. Some of the characters were really well developed. The main character, Sage, is very real and honest. She has a lot of depth to her, as a character. Other characters, though, were so lacking I can hardly even begin to describe it. They just had no substance to them! They were so surface-level. The author never really took it deeper, took it a step further.

Another thing that bothered me about the characters was that the author seemed to explore their "secret side", or it would seem like she was about to take it a step further...and then she just...stopped. She just left it there. She would go JUST in depth ENOUGH about one character and then...poof. We'd be moving on. It was really leaving me hanging.

Overall, this book wasn't too great. Sure, it offers a look at the pain of having a bipolar parent and the hurt of domestic abuse. And I absolutely adored Kelly Easton's writing style. Weirdly enough, her style was, dare I say, brilliant and humorous. It made it all the more confusing and disappointing, as the book itself was a letdown. I was expecting a spectacular, powerful book and I came away disappointed. The plot was slow and underdeveloped, as were the characters. The ending was painfully abrupt. The book barely ended! You had no clue in the world what was going to happen to Sage. It was just...over. That bugged me. Honestly, I didn't enjoy this book too much.


Plot: 11/20
Characters: 8/20
Ending: 10/20
Cover: 6/20
Style: 18/20
Overall: 53/100

Grade: D


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