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Howdy YAL!

I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies. 

Strangely I lost Interest

A Stranger Thing - Martin Leicht, Isla Neal

Probably one of the biggest reading surprises for me last year was Mothership.  The plot itself sounded ridiculous.  A boarding school in space filled with pregnant teenagers, but somehow it ended up working.


The sequel not so much.


The qualities that I found so charming the first time around, now seemed over the top and borderline hammy.  Let me be frank, I love camp.  It’s probably one of the biggest reasons that I continue to watch daytime television.  But this book is like camp on steroids.  And nothing, not even a man eating whale or the fact that the book is set in Antarctica can make me an amused reader.


Oh, sure, there were moments I remembered why I loved the previous installments, but at the same time, I’m sort of over this series which is sad.  Because it has a lot going for it.


The Ever Expanding Universe, is probably one of the most unique series in the world of YA right now.  Okay, there’s a lot of alien books out there but most of them don’t take the same tone that Leicht and and Neal’s book does.  And even though her OOT got annoying this time around, I still have a soft spot for Elvie.  Although, I don’t get what she sees in Cole that guy is dumb as a box of rocks.  But at least she’s taking charge.  And in a world full of characters waiting for prince charming, that’s pretty impressive.

Also, occasionally some of the jokes still worked.  Not as much as last time, but enough to get me to smile on maybe an occasion or two.


So, while I wasn’t enthralled with this installment, it wasn’t exactly worthless.  It had its moments.  But at the same time, ugh-just ugh.


As I said before the book just felt like it was one lame joke after another.  It was almost like the book found itself to be cute and funny.


To the unamused reader this is very, very, lame.  Also, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the various pop culture references that were used throughout the novel.  Normally,  I don’t mind pop culture references.  In fact, that was one of the reasons why I loved Meg Cabot books back in my teens.  However, when a book is set some time in the future I don’t think it’s the greatest idea to reference Spiderman, PETA, and 1980′s movies.  And sure, there was some weak explanation of how Elvie or her friend Duckie would watch old fashion things occasionally.  But let’s face it teens for the most part reference modern things.  My sister has a student that thinks Seinfeld  was in black and white and that show went off the air less than twenty years ago.  So, I really don’t think a teen is going to remember a movie that in Elvie’s time was over a hundred years old.


I also had a hard time restraining my eyes with some of the plot twists.  To put it simply there were enough back from the deads to put General Hospital to shame and that’s saying something because Ron Carlivati loves penning return from the grave story lines.  I will give it to Leicht and Neal though, at least they don’t drag their back from the dead’s out for almost two year-cough, Robin Scorpio, cough-just saying.  Still though, resurrecting both of those characters seemed a bit of a stretch to me.

A stretch.  I think that’s the perfect word to describe how I felt about this book.  A lot of things just seemed like they were thrown in there for shock value.  From Elvie being sent to Antarctica, to using a team of sled dogs instead of a Zamboni (hey, I watched National Treasure) everything just seemed contrived.  Including the big secret about her heritage.


Speaking of her heritage, I really wish they wouldn’t have gone down this route.  I expect as much, but when you expect it it’s just sort of groan worthy when what you expect happens.  Plus, it made the book a bit cliche.


I had a difficult time rating this one but in the end I’m giving it a five.  However, if I didn’t have sentimentality for the first one I might give it a four (C).  The  book was a bit of a disappointment.  Maybe my tastes have changed since last year but what I thought was funny and original just seemed cringe worthy and predictable.

Source: http://howdyyal.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/strangely-im-over-it-a-stranger-thing-by-martin-leicht-and-isla-neal