Friday, August 24, 2012

Review of: Blurry

Excited to leave for college, a talented musician, a top student, focused and driven...Rachel seems to have a life to envy. In her eyes, life is just as it should be. But when an estranged friend dies under strange circumstances Rachel is forced to face the possibility that her small town life might not be as perfect as she thought. The secrets that begin to crop up bring danger with them, something the unsuspecting Rachel may not be ready for. 

Blurry is a story about a young woman who must come to grips with the idea that the world is not black and white as she wishes it could be. People she loves and trusts have secrets, dangerous ones. 

This was a clean book, which is becoming more and more rare even in YA. There was some kissing between Rachel and Layne, but Moorer kept it at that. The language was also clean, and even thought there is some violence, Moorer didn't feel the need to go into gory detail or get carried away with twisted motives. 

The mystery in Blurry was solid, with no glaring holes. The mystery was on the lighter side. It is not overly complicated, either. As an adult reading it, I did find the twist a bit predictable, and I thought the ending was somewhat over-explained, but this may not be a problem with younger readers. Even though the main characters are 17 and 18, because of the items I just mentioned, I think this book would be most appealing to the 12-13 age group. 

Despite the cleanliness (which I appreciate) and the well-formed mystery, I did have a few issues with this book. I had a hard time with the dialog, which often felt formal and a bit stilted. When reading, I pictured adults speaking, not teens. The number of characters was also distracting at times. I think it would have flowed better if I could have focused on a few integral characters instead of having to keep track of so many. For young readers, this will probably be especially distracting. 

Two things I had a particularly hard time with was the level of emotion and the issue of show vs. tell. As far as the emotion went, there wasn't enough. Rachel faces some pretty serious events in this book, things that would have people crying and on the verge of losing it completely, yet she seemed to handle it with a sense of detachment. I had a hard time connecting with her emotionally because of this. I wanted to see her get angry or breakdown, hate the people who were causing so much pain, but she stayed so even tempered throughout. At one point a bomb explodes and I expected her and the others to really freak out at this point. Rachel only seems a little off balanced for a few moments and then moves on. The best part of YA fiction is the constant emotional turmoil teens experience. Everything is life or death in their eyes. But in this book, even when Rachel actually was facing death, the emotion felt short. 

The Show vs. Tell I mentioned contributed to this problem. Throughout the book, rather than letting me experience the story along with Rachel - letting me inside her head and emotions - Rachel instead "told" me what happened. I think this line (*Spoiler Alert*) is an example of the emotion and the show vs. tell issue. "Looking at the casket, she couldn't believe her oldest friend was dead." This is the depth of emotion shown at a funeral for one of Rachel's best friends. I am told that Rachel is shocked rather than shown through her tears, emotions, posture, internal thoughts, or even facial expressions. But where is her anger or sadness at this loss? This could have been a much more emotional moment than it was. 

Overall, Blurry, is an interesting read. It is a clean, light mystery, but the lack of emotion and depth of characters made it difficult for me to get into.  

Would I recommend this book? Only as a casual read. 

Who would I recommend this book to? Only to young teens who won't mind the uncomplicated mystery and characters, and straightforward writing. This isn't a mystery that adults will become wrapped up in, and older teens will be looking for more emotion and deeper characters. 

You can get your copy of Blurry from Wings ePress, Amazon US, B&N, and Amazon UK