Genre(s): YA Coming-of-Age Romcance
Length: 138 pages
Contrary to popular belief, serial killers aren’t usually loners. In fact, many of history’s most notorious murderers had spouses and children.
Eightteen-year-old Emma Wolf is haunted by the victims of her father’s crimes. She constantly feels like she’ll never be part of this world, but just a spectator watching normal people go about their lives. She couldn’t go back and make amends for her father’s crimes. She thought she had things figured out: join a few good causes, be a good girl, eat all her vegetables. Never lose control.
So when her aunt finds out she’s been invited to join the kid’s from her local church for a week-long trip to South Padre Island, she pushes Emma to go. Why else would she – the most socially awkward, fact spewing outcast – spend the first week of summer with a bunch of kids, who she has nothing in common with?
So much for not losing control.
As a reader, I liked this book. I was disappointed by the lack of girl goes on a murder spree that the synopsis hinted at, but I’m also a sucker for a good coming-of-age story, and while I couldn’t directly relate to the problems the main characters are facing, the emotions they go through are universal. Everyone feels isolated or misunderstood during high school at some point or another.
While I felt many parts of this novel were repetitive—readers will never have to question what is plaguing the minds of the two main characters—the story overall was enjoyable. The plot of “underdog goes on a end-of-highschool-roadtrip and leaves with a new group of unlikely friends” would feel right at home in the centre of a John Green novel.
However, this book certainly has some flaws. As a copyeditor myself, I often had a hard time looking past the numerous errors on each page. The errors were often incredibly distracting from the story. Torres uses incorrect words on multiple occasions (dairy instead of diary is one example), and an uncountable number of punctuation and basic grammar errors made it difficult to read.
Besides that, several things in the novel often contradicted themselves, which called into question the believability of the story. For example, it’s difficult to understand a character fully when they are defined both by their desire to be ignored by everyone around them, but also by their need to be in everyone’s face about trying to save the world one charity drive at a time. These two characterizations don’t go hand-in-hand.
I also did not appreciate the unnecessary death of a kitten.
That being said, with a better editing job, and some minor revisions, this could be a fantastic novel for young adults. As it stands now, it’s good, but I would have a hard time recommending something with this many errors to others.