I've heard from a number of people that Nina LaCour's Hold Still is bordering on the best book ever. I still haven't read that one but I did get The Disenchantments from the library. I had high...ish expectations based on the fact that it was Nina LaCour.
I was sort of disappointed. Through out reading The Disenchantments I kept thinking that it was like Paper Towns...only not as good.
The book definitely had it's own merits.
I am going to start random first. I absolutely loved the scene where they're quizzing Colby to try and see what kind of beer he would drink. I am a beer drinker and I don't drink typical beer and everything about that scene just delighted me.
Colby is an awesome character. I liked being in his head and seeing things the way that he saw them. It's a different sort of viewpoint than I as used to reading a lot, the artists perspective. I was really impressed by how that was done.
I thought Meg was an absolutely brilliant character. She was nuanced and complicated. I really wanted to know more about her and see more of her. Similarly, Alexa was well done as well. There are a lot of subtle things about her that show that she's younger than the others. I love her repeated admission that she likes high school and wants to be involved in the trappings. That being said, Nina LaCour didn't need to remind us every twenty pages that Alexa wasn't the same age.
But this brings me to Bev. I really really didn't like Bev. At all. She felt like a half attempted set of character traits rather than a character. Being the best friend and love interest of the main character there should have been more there. But instead she's the typical broken, woe-is-me beautiful girl. She felt like a lesser Margo Roth Spiegleman. She was Margo without the quirks. The carving might have felt like a quirk but then it was turned into the grand gesture. It wasn't just something that she did and then maybe discarded, it was important.
Not to mention that she is a completely reprehensible friend. I don't expect to like every character, sometimes I even have fun hating one. But honestly. She ruined Colby's plans for the future and didn't tell him until it was too late for him to consider another option. Perhaps in the long run she did him a favor, but didn't know that when she did it.
Perhaps the biggest thing that didn't work on this for me is that I felt as if this was trying to be set up as a story that tells the reader that everyone is lost and everyone has their own paths and that you just need to find out what you want to do. They all want different things, that is fine, but something about the circumstances made it all so specific. It was put forth in a way that I didn't feel was easy to connect to. It felt more like it was a statement on them and not on anyone else.
Similarly, Colby just kept looking at the others and thinking that he didn't really know Bev and then finally, as if it is a big reveal, that none of them really knew each other. This is another similarity to Paper Towns that I thought paled in comparison. Colby doesn't try to understand why they don't know each other. How they could spend all this time together and not really get what was happening to one another. For a story that felt like it was trying to make grand statements about being a teenager it stopped short of making it universal.
Overall I give The Disenchantments a rating of: Sort-of Epic
It just didn't work very well for me. I tried. Though, I will still pick up Hold Still.
Have any of you read it? What did you think?
Next I'll be hitting Beth Revis' Across the Universe....for real this time. And I will hopefully be doing Top Ten Tuesday, though I haven't looked at the topic yet so I'm not promising anything.
Until next time,