Wednesday 15 August 2012

Review: Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Even though I adore Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Raised by Wolves series, it took me a while to actually pick up Every Other Day. Even though I love Jennifer Lynn Barnes' writing, characters and plot in her Raised by Wolves series, I wasn't expecting to like much in this book.

My low expectations were probably caused by the unusual premise of this book. Has there been any other book where the main character changes species every other day? I thought that this book could only be amazing or be a complete flop.  

It turns out that Every Other Day, for me, is neither amazing nor complete shit. There were parts that were interesting and there were parts that made me skim read/skip pages.

I like the fact that Jennifer Lynn Barnes wasn't afraid to make Every Other Day different. I can’t say that the risk completely paid off, however. The thing about Every Other Day is that it's very different from Raised by Wolves. Yes, it still fits into the young adult paranormal genre but it isn't same-y. Authors who have success with a book/series sometimes try and use the same type of characters or the same type of plot to try and match their earlier success.

First of all, the blurb is very misleading, it makes the reader think that Kali (the main character) has to try and figure out a way to save a girl on a day that she's human. The book isn't about this, in reality, Kali saves the girl in the first couple of pages. The book is actually about Kali trying to save herself and Kali trying to figure out who and what she is. I guess that wasn't necessarily bad, the blurb being misleading, after I got over my initial anger of the situation (sometimes I get angry over stupid things, don't mind me), I realised that I liked that I didn't know what was going to happen. The unpredictability made the mediocre read a little bit more enjoyable. 

Every Other Day is a fairly short read and I'm pretty sure it's a stand alone novel although I do think that it needs a sequel. Maybe there will be one, there are definitely enough loose ends to create a second book. Anyway, due to Every Other Day's length, I felt like Barnes didn't have enough time to really put some flesh on the characters she introduced. A lot of the time the names of Skylar's many brothers just blended together, only separated by their various occupations. Kali is a decent main character, she's no Mary Sue, an interesting teenage girl with a unique...quirk. Barnes tries hard to create characters that break usual stereotypes, like the surprisingly deep and caring cheerleader however, she doesn't give them enough layers or depth to make the reader relate to these carefully constructed characters. 

Although I had some problems with the depth of the characters themselves, I really enjoyed reading about the mother-daughter dynamics and also, the changing relationship between Kali and her dad. Barnes cleverly made the reader connect with the main character, even though this is a paranormal book, by bringing in the common teenage problem: parents. 

The romance/love aspect of this book is unusual. Throughout most of the book the love interest, Zev, is just a voice in Kali's head, almost like a figment of her imagination. 

It was both interesting and weird to read. The relationship between Zev and Kali progresses a bit too fast at the beginning but that wasn't so hard to get over. Again, I bring up the characterisation, we don't know a lot about Zev at the beginning of the novel (oooh, mystery, nice) but we also don't know a whole lot about him at the end (dafuk?). 

Overall the book is pretty standard; there's nothing that really stood out or is very memorable. I will probably read the sequel (if there is one!) because as a series, this does have the potential to be kick-ass. :) 

Music choice: Let's just say it's hard to find a song that depicts a girl only human every other day ;) I decided to pick Perfect by Simple Plan because of how much the relationship Kali has with her dad affected me. 

Listen here...

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