I don’t normally review books that I don’t finish, but I normally DNF for good reason. In that case, I thought it would be important to share my thoughts.
As I experienced today, there can be nothing more horrifying than picking up a highly anticipated book and finding that it contains offensive material that actually ruins your day. There’s a cry for revising sensitive material in books that can actually trigger people, and with good reason. When writing for young adults and teenagers, it’s especially important to treat certain topics with care.The Silent Invasion by James Bradley
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on March 28th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
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It's a decade from now and the human race is dying. Plants, animals and humans have been infected by spores from space and become part of a vast alien intelligence.
When 16-year-old Callie discovers her little sister Gracie has been infected, she flees with Gracie to the Zone to avoid termination by the ruthless officers of Quarantine. What Callie finds in the Zone will alter her irrevocably, and send her on a journey to the stars and beyond.
The Silent Invasion by James Bradley
Reason: animal cruelty
If triggered is an emotion after reading something offensive, then The Silent Invasion is a book that I was triggered by. You all know I love my dogs, so the gratutious animal cruelty in this one was enough to make me sick. A dog gets beaten, tortured and killed by gleeful attackers, spread out over 2 pages of detail. Not to mention this came out from completely nowhere, and they’re clearly going to move on afterwards.
I can’t stand books with animal cruelty, especially when there was absolutely no reason for it and I don’t care to read about it in that level of detail.
Some other reasons why:
- the book feels like a copy of any other survival invasion book, like The 5th Wave or The Sky So Heavy.
- only focuses on travelling from one place to another with no excitement
- characters felt like cardboard cutouts walking from one place to another
- no explanation for the alien invasion at all
So it was really no loss.The Things We Promise by J.C. Burke
Published by Allen & Unwin on January 1st 1970
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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There are two things you need to know about me. The first is that I remember life by what I was wearing. The second is that I think too much.
It's the early 1990s and all Gemma can think about is looking perfect for her first school formal. Gemma's brother Billy - New York's up and coming hair and make-up artist - has made her the ultimate promise: he's returning home especially to 'create magic' on her and two friends for their end-of-year formal. Gemma's best friend, Andrea, is convinced it'll be their moment to shine; Gemma hopes it's the night Ralph will finally notice her.
But when Billy arrives home from New York, Gemma's life becomes complicated. Her family's been keeping secrets; friendships are forged and broken; and suddenly the length of her formal dress is the least of her worries.
Set in a time of uncertainty and fear, The Things We Promise is a beautifully told novel that sings with emotion, humour and heartbreak.
The Things We Promise by J.C. Burke
Reason: homophobia, mental health slurs, slut-shaming, girl on girl hate, parental disrespect
This book is one hell of a hot mess. It’s set in the 90s, but much of the language was incredibly offensive. Sure, that may have been how people talked in the 90s but in today’s climate, what is the point of bringing this up again?
- Not only are characters completely homophobic and horrible, they like to use terms like “poofter, bum bandit, poof” and chained insults, like “limp-wristed, pillow-biting, doughnut punching bum bandit“
- The main character here is a spoilt girl who is completely entitled, showing complete disrespect towards her mother, who she constantly calls “crazy, madwoman and schizo”, all derogatory terms to people suffering from mental health. Another chained insult was “red-faced, roaring, homicidal, spit-flying, crazy madwoman“.
- Slut-shaming – Her best friend Andrea is apparently a slut, because she’s had sex with three guys and likes to brag about her conquests. Gemma in contrast, is presented as a saint because she’s only had sex once and doesn’t want to talk about it.
- Girl on girl hate – other girls in high school are ‘prissy girls’, in particular one who ‘isn’t a natural beauty, so she doesn’t have to worry’.
And all this just in 75 pages!Valentine by Jodi McAlister
Published by Penguin Teen Australia on January 30th 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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Valentine is the first in a smart, witty and page-turning YA series with a paranormal twist for fans of Holly Black and Sarah J. Maas.
Four teenagers – all born on the same Valentine’s Day – begin to disappear. As the bodies mount up, Pearl Linford has to work out what in the supernatural hell is going on, before it happens to her.
Finn Blacklin is the boy with whom Pearl shares a birthday, the boy she has known all her life and disliked every second of it, the boy her subconscious has a totally annoying crush on. Finn is also the Valentine: a Seelie fairy changeling swapped for a human boy at birth. The Unseelie have come to kill the Valentine – except they don’t know who it is. And now both the Seelie and the Unseelie think Pearl is the Valentine, and if they find out she isn’t, she’ll disappear too.
Pearl must use all her wits to protect herself. Finn must come to terms with his newfound heritage. And then there’s the explosive chemistry between them that neither of them know quite what to do about . . .
Valentine by Jodi McAlister
Reason: unrealistic text speak, boy crazy main character, eye-rolling romance
This is more of a case of “it’s not you, it’s me” and I’m definitely the minority when it comes to Valentine. While many people on Goodreads have enjoyed Valentine, I feel like I’ve outgrown these types of books.
- The text speak felt really dated, seeing as we don’t talk lyk dis n e more. There was a lot of this in the novel.
- The plot twist is in the BLURB about the fae love interest. I didn’t realise most of the book would be building up what we already knew.
- The main charcter is insipid, shallow and super annoying. She’s meant to be a school captain, yet all she thinks about is gossiping with her friends and obsessing about her two boy crushes.
- Another one of those paranormals with a great premise that turns into a romance.
- Writing felt really juvenile and shallow.
I received these review copies from Allen & Unwin Australia, Pan Macmillan Australia and Penguin Random House.
Do you DNF books? What are the reasons why?