Meg Cabot’s Abandon Series: Underworld

underworld-mediumEscape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.

Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.

And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.

You want to know what makes me saddest about this book? It told me that I’m getting older way more than my high school diploma ever did.

Any girl between the ages of twelve and seventeen will probably love this book. I know I would have if I was a little younger when I read it.

As a retelling of Persephone and Hades, it’s great for the Greek mythology geek. And like Meg Cabot’s other books, it’s perfect for the high school outsider.

However, you’ll probably like it less if you’re older than seventeen.

Here are the good points:

  • Meg Cabot is a fantastic storyteller, no matter what
  • Pierce is a really relatable character
  • John Hayden is a great love interest who is moderately mentally stable
  • the Greek mythology is awesome

Here are the bad points:

  • A lot of angst
  • People have misplaced priorities
  • A lot of irrational decisions made by both Pierce and John
  • A lot of Meg Cabot’s usual flair and humor seems to be missing

Despite all of the bad points, I really was drawn into the plot. Pierce’s cousin, Alex, is in trouble, and we learn about John’s background and how he became lord of the Underworld (gotta love the antiheroes). I’m not joking when I say Meg Cabot can tell a great story. Even though this book didn’t make me laugh like The Princess Diaries series and I’m not cheering on a kickass heroine like in the Airhead series or in Teen Idol, I still got sucked into the story.

There is a lot of angst in this. Again, maybe I’m getting older and noticing more, or maybe it’s different from the others. But Pierce can be full of melodrama and sometimes she just seems so clueless. Why would a kid who is clearly from nineteenth century know what a cell phone is, for instance? Or did Pierce really think that only pomegranates trapped a person in the Underworld? Yeah, that’s what Persephone ate, but all of the versions of Persephone and Hades that I read clearly said food from the Underworld, and I’ve had to read several versions throughout middle and high school. You would think someone dating the lord of the Underworld would bother to actually read the legend.

John’s crew irritated me as well. They don’t really care when Pierce tells them that her cousin is dying. Granted, they are in the Underworld and Pierce has her priorities a little topsy-turvy too. I mean, her cousin could be dying but she didn’t want to inconvenience a little kid by making him go get John? Really? But the crew seemed to think it was absurd for John to save Alex, even though they thought it was perfectly natural when he saved a woman from getting her purse snatched. The misplaced priorities are irking.

The irrational decisions I can actually forgive. Every teenager makes dumb decisions at times and Pierce thinking her parents are better off with her missing isn’t the craziest idea ever. And even though John thought trapping Pierce forever in the Underworld and away from her family wouldn’t upset her was absurd, I can understand why he took her there. He didn’t think there was a way to stop the Harpies, after all, and he was scared out of his mind that she would be hurt.

Actually, John is a pretty stable love interest for a teen romance. I don’t think he and Pierce have the healthiest relationship, but he’s not controlling, easily jealous, or misogynist. Without a doubt he’s crazy about Pierce and if she had actually expressed wish to be left alone, without changing her mind an hour later, I think he would have.

And even though nineteen is too old to really get into the love story, the Greek mythology and storytelling can still be appreciated. Greek nerds and teen girls alike will love the Abandon series, and Underworld will not disappoint Meg Cabot’s die-hard fans.

Pick up this book at your favorite local bookstore.

 

 

 

Double Click: Dirty Jokes, Puns, and More Emails

        In the second installment in the Click series, there is a wedding and an engagement. There are sad goodbyes, new life life, and new love. There’s also secrets, glow-in-the-dark condoms, puns about eggs, puns about shoes, adults who don’t know how to capitalize, creepy cat videos, and, well, Shelley. It’s definitely entertaining and funny despite the bittersweet ending, and I think I like this book better than the last because there isn’t the onslaught of bad dates that make me depressed about humanity (as hilarious as they could be).

I think the book is well-written, entertaining chick-lit that fans of The Boy Next Door and Every Boy’s Got One would love, and Click fans will definitely be satisfied with this sequel.

Seeing Shelley’s character develop and mature was nice and it was fun seeing Ashley’s and Shelley’s (reluctant) friendship grow. However, I was kind of hoping Cassidy would disappear. I share a lot of Shelley’s sentiments about her and I’m really curious about what her job is and how she got hired when she has no grasp on capitalization and punctuation. She could drive me a little batty, and reading her emails were kind of frustrating because of her lack of knowledge on how a keyboard works. There are also points in the story where all plot movement stops because the characters are stuck in a pun war. This isn’t really much of a complaint because the puns were freaking hilarious (yes, I’m one of those people who laughs at lame jokes. Feel free to judge me), but there were a couple of times I felt like the war had gone on long enough. All in all, this is an excellent read and worth checking out.

 

Runaway by Meg Cabot

 

What teenage girl hasn’t compared herself to the models and actors on TV? What girl hasn’t felt bad about herself at one point or another? But who has ever thought that the glamorous world of Hollywood is all fake? Well, Meg Cabot has.

In Runaway by Meg Cabot, feminist rebel Em Watts is suffering from a brain transplant into the body of Nikki Howard, America’s hottest model. Some may think it’s heaven. Who wouldn’t want to become perfect overnight? But Nikki’s world is far from perfect. Spy-ware is in all of her electronics and she’s tailed constantly, not to mention she was blackmailed into playing Nikki Howard in the first place.

Em must uncover the motive behind Nikki’s supposed death, bring down the organization that ordered it, and protect her family, all the while trying to figure out her relationship with her best friend/ boyfriend, Christopher, and walk down a runway wearing a million-dollar diamond bra on national television.

Cabot keeps a slightly sarcastic, slightly ditzy tone throughout the book as she sends a clear message to girls around the world that they should be happy with who they are and not try to be different. She describes the modeling preparation with painstaking detail, where hours of work are put into one person for every photo shoot (and then they use Photo Shop on top of that). Cabot writes the romance between Em and Christopher with an effortless, carefree style that is purely her own.

Runaway, the third book in the Airhead trilogy, is perfect for any girl (feminist or girly) looking for a thrilling but light book with a tone with the girlish sense of teenage romance.

Writing Challenge: Vampires

It’s not a bad story and the first half is pretty darn fun, in a YA-adult romance crossover kind of way. What really killed me was that it pulled a bait-and-switch on me. It promised and delivered me a strong heroine, and then took her away just as things got moving. Meena hangs back. Meena gets rescued. Meena’s heart breaks (a lot). Meena gets held hostage.- The Canary Review http://thecanaryreview.com/2012/12/08/book-review-cabot-insatiable/

This is a review from The Canary Review, one of my favorite places to turn to for good reads. I had already had Insatiable on my reading list because I love Meg Cabot but the review by the canaries made me bump the book up to number one. Knowing Meg Cabot, I thought it might have been an exaggeration, but they actually had it pretty dead-on. The first half was great, especially when they made fun of Twilight. And I could even forgive Meena when she fell in love with Lucien and got a little brainwashed by him because, hey, he’s a vampire, it’s sort of his thing. Also, hanging back in the middle of a vampire war, getting rescued, etc. etc. is also forgivable because she’s a soap opera writer, not a warrior. However, her calling Lucien in the middle of a battle just to hear his voice and whisper sweet nothings does take it a bit far, and she was naive with Dimitri. Meena, for the most part, was a strong character, but she did have some weird anomalies during the later part of the book. But I do a have some hope for the rest of the series- maybe working with (spoilers!) the Palantine Guard will toughen her up. (By the way, this is my guess, but knowing Cabot, Lucien isn’t who she’s going to get together with in the end.) I recommend reading the review by the canaries for a better idea of the book.

But as I was reading the review, and then the book, I was wondering if it is possible to write a good vampire romance- one that’s unmockable, and doesn’t have any of the cliches or usual objections of this particular storyline. So I’m issuing a challenge to all the writers out there to try and write a good vampire romance. Is it possible?

Here are some of the objections:

-age difference

– weak heroine

– sap

– love at first sight

– the fact that the love interest wants to kill the heroine

– sparkles