Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal, Science Fiction
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Publication House: Harperteen
Number of pages: 368
Source: ARC from Edelweiss
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When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.
Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.
Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?
I’ve read my share of alien stories these past two years. There’s just something about extraterrestrial creatures that intrigue the geek in me – the unfamiliarity, that sense of other-worldliness, the knowing they come from somewhere that’s beyond human comprehension. I’m not sure where this curiosity of mine started, but watching X Files has surely solidified that. Unfortunately, many of what I read that had this subject matter last year have been largely disappointing, and I’ve yet to read a book with aliens that could completely satisfy me. As for The Taking, while it had potential, I didn’t find it to be so special either.
Kyra was on her way home from a successful softball game. Unfortunately, she and her father have been arguing in the car about her boyfriend and her upcoming university life, and at the spur of the moment, she went out of the car only to be enveloped by a blinding white light. Next thing she knew, she woke up to the same place, but in a different timeframe, and she soon discovered 5 years has passed since anyone saw her that fateful night. And yet, she still felt like how she was that very day – the same bruise, the same clothes, the same everything. However, while this was so, everything else around her was completely different – her parents have now separated, she has a stepdad and a stepbrother, and her boyfriend (or ex boyfriend now) was in college with her best friend, Cat. Even his little brother, Tyler, who she remembered a 12 year old boy, was 17 now. What the heck happened?
I loved Kyra’s reaction to what happened. You can really feel her confusion, anger, and frustrations, seeing everything has changed in a moment’s notice. I usually don’t like the lashing kind of heroine, but I felt her reaction was well-justified. All of a sudden, she had a stepbrother and a stepdad. All of a sudden, the boy she loved has moved away to college with her best friend, Cat. All of a sudden, her parents who loved each other now hated each other’s guts. Her old life has crumbled away and she was powerless to fix any of it, because five years has passed without her knowing, and it has become too late to do anything but to simply accept the situation as it was. Many times I felt like crying for her, especially when she found out about her boyfriend and her best friend being together. Even thought I personally thought it was okay since they genuinely thought Kyra was dead for 5 years, I still felt that pain. And man, did it hurt.
Whoo, boy. Let’s dissect this one.
1.) Instalove. What the flying monkey balls. Not only was the romance weird, it was instalove at its finest. So we all know Austin was her boyfriend, right? And this Austin had a younger brother named Tyler, who, on the day of Kyra’s disappearance, was 12 years old. When they finally see again, him finally seventeen years old as 5 years have passed, she commented on how he looked so much like Austin – the hair, the eyes, the face, everything. And next thing you know, that’s all she would think about. How gentleman-ly he was, how similar they were… not even a week passed since her “coming back” and she’s fallen for him! I mean come on, girl. I get that he’s swoony and everything, but the last time you saw him he was 12. And you could have been 21, too, for Pete’s sake, since at that time you didn’t know if you were 21 or 16. At first it was cute because awww, puppy love, then it progressed too fast, and I was no longer convinced of their love for each other, which kinda came out of nowhere.
2.) The unnecessary details. One thing that I noticed about this book was the prose. At first, I thought it was kinda lovely, because it really portrayed Kyra’s feelings in a way that moved me. But then, I noticed some patterns. Some stuff were being added that just didn’t feel necessary to the storyline. Then I got to that part where she was talking about her past, when suddenly I started reading about her taking the spaghetti from the fridge, peeling the plastic wrap, putting the fork in the center, twirling the fork, to putting it in her mouth, to fucking chewing it. But longer. Like, it lasted three paragraphs, okay?
WHAT. THE. HELL.
WHO GIVES A FUCK ABOUT HOW YOU EAT YOUR SPAGHETTI? I GODDAMN DON’T.
You know, I could totally understand that if this book were entitled Pasta Eating For Dummies, but it’s not. What was the point of that, really? I just didn’t get it. I didn’t get it at all.
3.) Internet abbreviation in a traditionally published novel. Need I say more, really? If it were in a text message or in a chatroom discussion, I would understand that, but it’s not. I know many others will agree with me they don’t think F-M-L in their thoughts. They think it instead as “Fuck my life”, not as three individual letters.
The pounding in my head was back, starting behind my eyes and radiating down the back of my neck. FML.
Major, major, MAJOR facepalm.
4.) Weird verbs. I didn’t even reach 5 percent of the book yet and I encountered this… this… this “verb”. Or rather, this sorry excuse of a verb:
Why. Just… why. Why can’t it simply be whisper? There are many ways to write urgency in a dialogue. That’s what punctuation is for. Use them, please. Don’t make up words.
And I swear if I see stuff like whisper-tell, whisper-cry, whisper-whimper, whisper-shout, whisper-moan, whisper-groan, whisper-mutter, whisper-exclaim, whisper-cheer and even whisper-whisper, I will lose it. SERIOUS-FUCKING-LY.
5.) Weird pacing. While I loved the angst that happened in the first half of the book, it gets to the fast-paced part in an incredibly slow pace. You need to read like half the book before it even crawls along. And then we’re given WTF situations, one after another, and while I find the alien concept here kinda… intriguing… the “superpower” stuff like levitation, superstrength, night vision, stalled breathing felt contrived. I was not happy at all.
ALL IN ALL, it was a disappointing read, BUT I have a feeling it has potential to get better. So I’m going to keep my hopes up. I’m not going to be pessimistic about the rest of the series, and will check out the next book when it comes out. Hopefully it will deliver.
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