Perigee Moon by Tara Fuller

Perigee Moon by Tara Fuller

Publisher: Crescent Moon Press (January 12, 2012)

Format: Kindle Edition

If you’re like me, you’re going to pick this book up and go WTF?! The title isn’t Pedigree Moon? It’s Perigee Moon? What does that even mean? And after

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doing a bit of google research you will have some vague recollection of 9th grade astronomy class and the definitions of both perigee and apogee. You’d think being a classics major (and by classics I mean Greek and Latin, not literature), I would know this but I don’t. I’ve disappointed even myself tonight: the perigee of the moon refers to when the moon is closest to the Earth and conversely, the apogee is when it’s farthest away. Don’t think this is important or anything because honestly, it’s not. The perigee of the moon has nothing to do with the book Perigee Moon beyond one minor plot point way at the end so we’re all in the clear.

Plot:

Rowan Bliss was born with a gift: she can feel the emotions of those around her and even track down people via their emotions. But this gift turns into a curse shortly after her mother dies in a house fire and Rowan, overwhelmed by the emotions of everyone around her, unsuccessfully attempts suicide in her best friend’s bathtub. When this does nothing but alienate her from her grieving father and brother, she decides a move to her mother’s hometown of Ipswich, Massachusetts is the only way she can truly come to terms with her mother’s death. When she moves in with her grandma and grandpa and starts at her new school, her life seems to be back on track. However she’s doomed after meeting the mysterious Alex and becomes instantly obsessed. She’s never seen him before but something about him draws her to him. Eventually a fragile romance blooms between them and Rowan feels the wounds of her mother’s death begin to close. But Alex has a deep, dark secret of his own. He’s actually a witch from 1692 who has been dreaming of Rowan since he was 8 years old. He’s powerful enough to travel through time to find her but dark forces are at work in his time. His own mother was hanged for witchcraft and though he tries to play the part of a good Puritan, all of 17th century Ipswich is suspicious of him because of his mother. Through her relationship with Alex, Rowan learns that her own gift is due to the fact that she comes from a line of witches. As Rowan begins to practice and grow in power, both she and Alex search frantically for a way for their ill-timed love to continue despite the differences between them, Alex’s power hungry family, and the very forces of magic hoping to keep them apart.

Review:

I’m going to start with something inane but 100% necessary: this book needs a new editor stat. I truly believe that just because a book is YA fiction does not give it license to look bad on paper or ebook as the case may be. With Perigee Moon, I’m not sure if the issues that plague it (and I mean PLAGUE it in the most all encompassing sense of the word) are a result of formatting issues or what, but I should never, ever, ever be subjected to the glaring mistakes that are found in this book. Doubly so if I purchased it. God’s is not the plural of God; barley does not mean barely; and donning a coat means putting on a coat not wearing it. This is just a sampling of the many, many grammatical, spelling, and punctuation mistakes present. I don’t know about any of you, but when errors like this

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crop up all of the time it just ruins a book for me. It’s all I can focus on because like I’ve said before, writers should know how to use words and when they don’t, they shouldn’t be writers. But I’m going to give Tara Fuller the benefit of the doubt here and say that this must be an ebook formatting problem and leave it at that. Because I can’t fathom any publishing house allowing so many to exist in a book it published. But I digress.

Now, the story itself isn’t bad per se. The plot just feels overused. It’s one we’ve read a bagillion times recently and I’m going to pull out my checklist just to be sure. Mysterious Boy? Check. Girl who is misunderstood and must leave her home to start over? Check. Paranormal beings trying to keep Mysterious Boy and Girl far, far apart? Check. Girl turns out to be paranormal herself? Check. I could keep going. It read like Twilight only with witches and time travel replacing the vampires and wolves. The story is basically that of star crossed lovers only Rowan and Alex are hindered by 400 years separating them and the fact that Alex is hanged in the past for witchcraft. Their romance comes off as forced since you never really see them interacting beyond the professions of love and Alex’s miraculous appearances when Rowan needs saving. They meet and then bam! Seem to be instantly deep in the throes of love. I tried but just couldn’t buy it. Sadly there are lot of plot points like this peppered throughout. Even the big shocker that Rowan is a witch just fell flat. You could see it a mile away. The story is really stilted with not a lot of flow between scenes and the dialogue, a big selling point for me, didn’t really go anywhere. There are a lot of unanswered questions here: why was Alex dreaming about Rowan when he was 8 years old? Wouldn’t she not exist yet? Rowan’s mom was a witch with an abnormal daughter who needed reassurance about her weirdness. Why did she let her fragile daughter believe she was some abnormal emotion feeling freak if she could just have easily explained it? Why does Rowan decide to leave her home in Colorado for Massachusetts when she has a great circle of friends and family there are all rooting for her to get better after her suicide attempt? What father would allow a suicidal daughter to move across the country from him after also losing his wife? Again, I could go on and on. In the end, this story isn’t bad, it’s just not original. The premise made me hope for something but it never went anywhere, it just floundered.

So based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the heroine: 5. Witchcraft aside, Rowan was not at all a strong character. She needed to be saved a lot throughout the book and that just didn’t sit right with me. Plus she falls madly in love with Alex so quickly that she comes across as overly needy. And it gets to the point where she actually says something along the lines of, something inside me knew you–yes, my soul recognized you. Gag! No really, GAG! But she does earn points for trying to come to terms with her mother’s death and she does handle the fact that Alex is a time-traveling witch remarkably well.

How much did I like the love interest: 5. Alex sounds like he could be dreamy–dark hair, blue eyes, muscled build, British accent–but he’s from the past, people! He can’t exist in our time. Plus he’s a witch who does bad things to people (albeit those people are potential rapists but still!) and is still under the thumb of his aunt even though he’s over 18. Plus he seems a bit stalkerish.

How believable is the plot: 5. Paranormal stuff is all the rage now. I get it. So the plot being that a time traveling witch finds the girl of his literal dreams who also happens to be a witch didn’t seem like a huge stretch for me. What did was how quick their love developed and how co-dependent they both were. I’m not so comfortable with teenage girls thinking that witches are gonna save them from all their problems.

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 5. Again, I’m giving Tara Fuller the benefit of the doubt here. Maybe all the mistakes were due to the formatting of the e-version of this book and in that case, I feel for her. The writing itself was a bit flat and didn’t flow as well as I’d have liked. Everything came off a little stilted and forced but still, it was decent and got points for that.

How much did I want to keep reading: Hhmmm, tough call. Just want to stress that this book wasn’t bad. It just included a lot of points that have been overused lately. I don’t know if there’s a sequel because the ending was a bit vague on that point. But if there were, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to get it. At one point, I wanted the story to hurry up and be over because it felt like there were too many trite plot devices being used and I needed a break from them.

Final Score: 5/10. So there you go. A decent effort that with a bit better editing and a plot that had been kicked up a notch would have been inching toward an 8 or 9.

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Singularity by William Sleator

Singularity, by William Sleator

Publisher: Puffin (December 1, 1995)

Format: Paperback

People: I’m sick. Seriously sick. I’m sitting on the couch sniffling all over everything, hacking up a lung, and praying that this cold medicine kicks in soon. In the meantime, you know what all this free time of mine means right? Another review! Let’s just call it a make up for yesterday and leave it at that. So today’s review is of a book that I read first when I was 15. I remember it being mind-blowing and fantastically written even then so when I decided to reread it last week, I was pleasantly surprised to see that 15 year old me did not lead 29 year old me astray. It is mind-blowing and fantastically written. And the story is so simple that I want to smack my own forehead for not coming up with it first (in much the same way I read the Sandman comics and kick myself for not having the great forethought to write them before Neil Gaiman).

Plot:

Identical twins Harry and Barry Krasner are as different as night and day. And given that they are twins with completely different personalities, they are highly competitive. At 16, they are dragged off to Sushan, IL when their reclusive great-uncle dies and all of his worldly possessions (including one creeptastic old house) fall to their mother. Inside the big, rambling house, the twins discover that Uncle Ambrose is beyond eccentric: he has a collection of skeletons that showcase creatures that don’t exist (think lizards with 8 legs and enormous rats) and other bizarre artifacts that the twins can’t fathom. They chock up his fascination with these things to the fact that he was a virtual shut-in at the end of his life. When they begin to explore their new home, Harry and Barry discover a reinforced steel outhouse dubbed, “The Playroom”. Through some harmless experimentation they quickly realize that time passes much more quickly inside this playroom than it does outside and it helps explain the eccentric nature of their uncle and his collections. When their pretty neighbor Lucy enters their lives, the brothers’ competitive nature is unleashed and Harry makes the rash choice to enter the playroom and age more quickly thereby freeing himself from his twin forever. When the playroom is ultimately destroyed, Harry’s choice alters his life and his relationship with Barry in ways he could never conceive.

Review:

Cutesy twin names like Harry and Barry aside, this book is off the charts AMAZING! As Ellen would call it, it’s AMAZEBALLS! Stop reading this review right now (even though the review hasn’t technically started) and go get it. Stat. William Sleator is a genius who uses something as simple as a playroom that alters time to comment on the nature of siblings and the need for one’s unique identity. As the story begins, Harry is tired of being the meek twin. Tired of being the twin that is flabby and unnoticed while louder, more boisterous jock Barry is the life of any party. Harry is through with Barry getting the girl and in their new life, Harry sees this dichotomy between them replaying itself over and over. When cute neighbor Lucy picks Barry over him, he makes up his mind to quit being the same old Harry and to finally become the twin that people notice. So Harry does the only thing he can think of that will definitively break the link he has with Barry: he enters the time altering playroom in order to age himself so the twins no longer resemble one another. In doing so, Harry finally becomes the twin who acts and his personality is transformed through his experience. It is amazing to watch his character grow and mature over such a short amount of time. Believe me at 176 pages, this book is one quick read but watching the evolution of Harry’s character feels so realistic that you don’t notice the shortness. As I’ve mentioned countless times before, my main focus in any YA book is the evolution of the main characters and in Singularity, we get this in spades. Harry not only matures mentally through his time in the playroom but also physically as tangible proof that he is no longer the quiet, unassuming Harry of the book’s beginning. If only we could all be so lucky as to find some time portal that allows all our life-altering experiences to show so visibly on our skin. But I guess that’s why we have tattoos.

Based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the hero: 10. Harry really bugged me at first because come on! We can all see you’re living in Barry’s shadow and that you want to do something about it. But when he does, it is so worth the wait. Forcing yourself to stay in a time altering room in order to age a year more than your tool of a twin? Priceless.

How much did I like the love interest: Doesn’t really apply here so…new category!

How much did I hate the brother: 10 (that’s a 10 for hatred) OMG! I hate the name Barry. Ever since Rachel on Friends was dumped by a douchebag dentist named

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Barry, I’ve hated that name. And the whole rhyming name thing! Ugh. Plus twins in general creep me out and make me feel weird that I don’t have my own doppelganger running around behind me. This guy gets a solid 10 of hatred since he is such a perpetual jerk to his brother.

How believable is the plot: 10. Time altering portals seem really far fetched, don’t they? But here it works and is completely believable. The writing is kind of sparse meaning that we have very few descriptions but what we do get heightens the weirdness and tension between Barry and Harry, and the two boys and their surroundings. You can really see two brothers resenting each other so much that they want to completely change and be free of one another especially if they were put in matching sailor suit costumes for most of their young lives.

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. William Sleator has gotten a lot of flak recently for the dip in his writing style. Here however he is pitch perfect. The pacing is so tight that you feel tense and want to know what’s going to happen as quickly as possible. Dialogue is very natural and the characters are highly believable.

How much did I want to keep reading: 10. I’m giving it a 10 because great books get a 10 but honestly, at the end, there’s not really much more to say about Harry and Barry. I wanted to find out how people react to Harry now appearing a year older than Barry or how their relationship suffers from his choice but otherwise, the story as it stands felt complete.

Final Score: 10 / 10. There’s absolutely no romance but you won’t care because it’s that good!

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