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Review: Wild Blue Wonder - Carlie Sorosiak

Genre: YA Magical Realism Contemporary Published: Harper Teen, june 2018 My rating: 4 stars

"But as you know, in all camp stories, there are monsters. In this one, there are two. The seamonster. And me.

Wild Blue Wonder was in my top 3 most anticipated YA-books to come out in 2018, right after The Muse of Nightmares and the Astonishing Color of After, and it did not disappoint. If the entire book had been as good as the second half, it would have been a five star for sure. The first half however, left some to be desired for me. The break in enjoyment level was quite noticeable, and even visible in my readingspeed going through this book. The first few chapters (the setting of the scene and introduction of characters) is great. I am very biased, as I am a sucker for magical realism setting, especially when they include lakes or the sea. I loved the “summercamp in winter-setting” and I think Carlie Sorosiak absolutely nailed the atmosphere for both seasons with this.

Then, between page 50 or so and the halfway point, it started to lag a little for me. Mostly small things that bugged me, but the cumulative result was me not being as excited to pick it up anymore. One of the things that annoyed me were the very frequent pop-culture references to contemporary movies, TV-shows and books. This is a big risk while writing, as it will instantly date your book, as well as appeal to a very specific agegroup, while locking the rest out. Even though I think I am in or around this targeted group, even I felt it was too much. There were sections where every page contained 2 references to The Hungergames, Harry Potter or specific Vampiremovie. Even I as a booklover don’t reference books that much, which made it feel a bit forced.

The second part I did not enjoy was the storyline with Alexander. Honestly: WHY? Not only did I lowkey hate his “personality” (absolute stereotype of Charming Brittish Boy) I couldn’t help feeling the only reason he was put in was to be the “new love interest” to show that Quinn could be okay after all that had happened to her. It was just unnecessary and a little daunting. Also, speaking from experience: when you are still that deep into the grieving process, you don’t have time to fall for new boys straight away…

Then, when I hit the halfway point, I was hooked. We find out what exactly went down last summer, and why Quinn feels the way she does about it. In my opinion, this part was executed extremely well. It had me feeling quite emotional at the right moments, both in happy and sad ways. This is quite an accomplishment for a YA novel these days for me. I feel all main characters, but especially Fern and Quinn really came to fruition and I actually felt for them and related to them in some way.

Reading this back, it may sound pretty negative, but I only nitpick at it because it's so close to being a 5-star. If the 150 middlepages had been as good as the end, or had been cut shorter, it could have been a five star read. Despite some small flaws, there is some extremely good stuff in here. I would still very much recommend it.

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