Monday, October 19, 2015

Book Review: If You're Lucky by Yvonne Prinz

Quick Facts
My Rating: 3 stars

Series: N/A

Date Read: June 12, 2015

Source: Free review copy from Netgalley

Publication Date: October 20, 2015

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Genres: Young adult, contemporary

When Georgia meets Fin, a friend of her dead brother, Lucky, she feels that something is off about him. He's charming, much like Lucky, and perhaps that's the problem: He's kind of taking over Lucky's life. First, his girlfriend; then, his dog, his family. Georgia is the only one who isn't fooled.

As time goes on, Fin's behavior becomes even more suspicious. Georgia, who is schizophrenic, stops taking her medication. Everyone else seems to think that her mind is playing tricks on her - but is that true? Or is Fin exactly who she thinks he is?

This sounded like a fast-paced, action-packed book. I really expected it to be mysterious, intriguing, and wonderful. And it took me a long time to accept that this was not the book I expected. It took me even longer to figure out what, exactly, did not sit right with me.

When we first meet Fin, he is very charming, bordering on love interest. Georgia really likes him, and he has a way of making people feel special and understood. Rather than talking about himself, he focuses on the other person - which, as Georgia observes, is not only a great way to make people like you, but a fantastic strategy when keeping secrets.

I liked the beginning of the book well enough, although I kept waiting for the action. But when things took off, the story seemed to go even further downhill. It's not that the story wasn't interesting, because it was! I love the concept of someone completely taking over the life of someone they murdered, and I love stories about mental illness. The highlight of the story, I think, was getting into Georgia's mind and seeing things from her point of view.

But everything felt predictable. Perhaps it was just me, but I knew what was happening throughout most of the book. I may have doubted it a couple of times, and there was one small twist in the middle that I especially enjoyed. The thing is, there was just not a lot of mystery going on, at least for me.

The writing also felt just a bit lacking. I couldn't figure out just what I didn't like, and I don't think anything was technically wrong with it. I just kept wishing it were more. I felt the same way about Fin's character - I wanted to be more charmed by him. I especially wanted to be more afraid for Georgia when she began questioning him and getting into dangerous situations. But I didn't. When Fin was supposed to be charming, it almost worked. When he was supposed to be creepy, I couldn't feel that at all.

Lastly, the ending. This was what caused the most trouble for me - it didn't feel realistic. And I kind of ended the book thinking that's it? The last chapter kind of started some new plot lines, rather than simply wrapping old ones up. And I'm sure this was meant to give new hope for the future - but I don't think it was handled well. The new bits felt forced and not a part of the story at all, and left me wondering why I should care, especially about a character who was introduced within the last five pages.

So maybe this one just wasn't for me. I'm sure others will pick it up and love it. But I couldn't get past thinking it was okay, nothing more or less.

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