Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sorority 101: Zeta or Omega by Kate Harmon

A fresh new series—the Sorority 101 novels will make every teen girl want to join!

High school is already a distant memory for incoming Latimer University freshmen Jenna, Roni, and Lora- Leigh. Jenna can’t wait to meet cute college boys, Roni can’t wait to get away from home, and Lora- Leigh . . . well, Lora-Leigh couldn’t care less. She’s going to LU and participating in sorority recruitment only to appease her mom. Sorority girls are pretty, rich, and snotty, and Lora-Leigh doesn’t want to be one of those girls. So she’s shocked to find herself actually connecting with the sisters of Zeta Zeta Tau. And her new friend Jenna can relate. She came to recruitment only because her roommate begged her to, but now she can’t decide which sorority to join; she likes them all! Roni, on the other hand, knows which sorority she should join, but she came to LU to reinvent herself. As recruitment progresses and the girls prepare to make big decisions, they’ll need to heed the best advice there is: follow your heart. Now where will it lead?

Grade: B //

Memorable Quotes:
No quotes for this one (haven't been doing that in a while, have I? Damn.) because I can't quote galleys/ARCs without checking first against a final copy. Don't have a bound copy, so it is what it is!

Side note: I just had to throw this in: Why are there so many ellipses instead of em-dashes? Kind of bothered me, but meh, only enough for a side note. Anyway.

Let's go for a trip on my thoughts at different stages of the book:

Beginning: I wasn't impressed. The story seemed generic, and even though I eagerly hoping for something heartwarming and cute so much that my disposition to like this book was that much higher, nothing really grabbed me. The reader is immediately thrown into the heart of three perspectives in third person limited, which can get confusing at first when you're trying to build each girl's identity in your mind. The three girls are supposed to be interesting, but nothing they did, said or thought intrigued me.

By page thirty, I, in all honesty, didn’t understand exactly what the point was. It was apparent they’d all be joining the sorority recruitment at Latimer, even if not all of them were especially accepting of that fact. So what? Why was I supposed to care what they did?

Bearing this in mind, I read on expecting to find out the answer. There are two books in this series (so far), so I assumed it was going somewhere, and getting there fast.

I can’t tell you where my opinion of this book changed, or how, or why. One moment, my mind was doing this:

What do I put in my review? There isn’t a problem per se—the writing is lovely, the characters are likable (and by this time, I had a clear sense of who each one was and they were beginning to interest me), but this book is based more on a situation than a plot. Which is fine when you’ve got compelling characters who lurch the reader forward, but while these characters were sweethearts, they weren’t the prime examples of human interest pieces. It’s all here, but it needs more synchronizing... Or something to that effect.

The next, my internal analysis shut the hell up and I fell into the rhythm of the story. My mind went something like:


Which means I read and didn’t judge. Which means I forgot to judge. Which means Kate Harmon did a bona fide job of making this reviewer forget about the problems she’d encountered thus far and focusing on the rest.

My final verdict, without scrutinizing too much, is:

The plot is predictable throughout (and if you have a copy of this, the cover gives away a lot), but the "point" (or, more aptly, the objective) of this novel does come across and is an event unto itself. The writing is great through and through. Characters—especially Jenna and Lora-Leigh—are relatable and for the most part real. We don’t get to know all of the girls in nitty-gritty details because the main focus of the novel is the sorority recruitment, which is basically set up for the rest of the series, I’m guessing. But that’s fine—you get to know enough for now. (Though I hope the next book dives deeper!)

Something Kate Harmon did particularly well was capture these characters’ emotions and expose the genuine thrill and importance of sorority recruitment. If nothing else, you do feel their emotions pulsing through you as they get ready to find out what sororities they’re in and how much it matters to them. The suspense sparkles through.

I do recommend this novel, which is not something I say lightly. I appreciated the positive light it put on sororities a lot—first book I’ve read to do so. It’s special in its own merit, and for reason I have yet to pinpoint, it left a lasting impression on me. (And hey, that’s an antithesis to my original opening to this review!)

Bottom line is: This worked. It worked great.


ambeen said...

Great review! I think this one is one of your best. Seriously!

Zulmara said...

que cool...your reflective honesty with yourself and with your readers is refreshing...

Kudos to you...



alison ashlee said...

That was a great review!


Hope you're having a great day!

jordan said...

thanks for the great review. i've been wanting to read this book and now i definately will. your honesty is appreciated. i wonder how much of the problems you had were due to the way it was edited. that seems to be the case a lot of times.


Lenore said...

Insightful review as always :)

Happy Birthday! Wishing you all the best!

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