domingo, 5 de maio de 2013

Nissa, Bethany Lopez [Review]

Author: Bethany Lopez
Pages: 216
Format: ARC (ebook)

At 900 years old, Nissa is finally ready to follow her mother's path and become the best Fairy Godmother she can. She’s not thrilled when her first assignment turns out to be a teenage human girl with self-esteem issues, but she knows she has to start somewhere. Her assignment has dealt with bullies since her freshman year and they haven’t let up. If Nissa can’t help her regain her self-confidence her future is bleak.
To complicate matters Nissa experiences all the signs that she's met the being fated for her. This impossibility distracts her from her purpose. After all, fairies and humans aren't meant for each other. How can her heart believe otherwise? Can Nissa successfully complete her first assignment as a Fairy Godmother? Will the fates allow Nissa and Levi to be together? And even if they do, will Levi believe Nissa once she reveals the truth?

I don’t even know where or how to start this review (take a deep breath!).
Nissa has everything, every single interesting element, to be a great book—but at the end of the day it just isn’t. It lacks growth, inspiration, creativity and commitment. The idea itself is quite good—I haven’t read many fairies or Godmothers stories so this could easily be a good read for me—, but somehow the author found a way to write a YA book without any kind of mature behaviour from her characters. These are simply not believable nor capable of connecting with the reader—although Nissa is kind of likeable—, and for the book to be good, the plot also needed unexpected twists and turns, and the writing style had to be different, had to be more personal, more intense, more show not tell.

This is really hard for me because I hate writing bad reviews. I honestly believe that every book has its proper audience, but I couldn’t get away of this awkward sensation of emptiness throughout the book. I felt nothing with this book, not a single thing, and whenever I get into a story, I want to be able to feel something.
Surprisingly enough, I read Nissa in an afternoon—still when I wasn’t liking it, I was reading it fast, and I see that has a good thing ‘cause at least there was something in it that kept me motivated. I think the biggest problem of this book is the writing—it’s just not portraying adequate emotion and feelings. It’s flat, way too simple, with not enough dialogue or action. A lot of things that are happening are described to the reader, and for a reader to truly connect with the protagonist’s fears and wishes, he needs to see more of her not to hear, read about her. Plus, the whole love interest thing was way to monotonous and innocent for an eighteen and a twenty-one year old girl and boy. I was constantly waiting for the moment when everything would bloom and explode between the two of them, but that kept not happening.

Nissa is naïve. I know she’s supposed to be a fairy in a human’s world, but her sense of innocent is overwhelming in a bad way. She looks like a fourteen year-old girl who sees the goodness in everything and who will not practice any evil. And her mission was to protect Vicky not to forget about her around the middle of the book and fully commit herself to her love to Levi—which takes me to an even more disappointing character. C’mon, Levi is so not the kind of adult guy that we, YA crowd, are used to read about. For a man of his age, he can be more naïve than her—how is that even possible?! There were times when he was a bit sweet and kind but overall it wasn’t enough.

If this book is targeted to the younger stage of the YA public, than I understand Lopez’s creative choices for this story—ultimately, I think nowadays more and more young readers look for stories who not only are different and unique, but that also, somehow, show them things they don’t know yet, they have not yet experienced, especially relationship wise. I did liked the fact that Nissa talked about bullying and insecurities, about friendships and first love, but I don’t think those themes were developed in a way that these younger young-adult readers could relate too.
Personally, I expected more mainly when this book can easily be compared to so many others who are really, really good. But hey, this is me, this is what I think. Hopefully, there will be people who think differently.

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