Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Take Me There by Susane Colasanti

In one short week . . . three lives change.

Rhiannon is devastated after the breakup with her boyfriend and wants him back. Nicole’s ex is still in the picture, but she can’t help having a new crush. James and Rhiannon are just friends, though he may try to take it to the next level. Will their desire to take a mean girl down a notch bring these three friends what they want . . . and more?

Set during one life-altering week and told in three realistic perspectives, this engaging, witty novel by the author of When It Happens shows the ups and downs of love, friendship—and karma.

Grade: C //

Thanks to JL for the book!

Memorable Quotes/Lines:
I really liked all of Rhiannon's "Question:" bits. Examples:

Question: If you were happy with your boyfriend but he wasn't happy with you, was that happiness real? (ARC page 18)


Okay, I just have no idea how I feel about this book. Its positives are overlapping with its negatives big time.

Question: How do you review a book about which you have mixed feelings?

Hmm, I guess I’ll begin with the characters, who were the most *sigh*-worthy bunch I’ve seen in a while. Rhiannon wasn’t compelling; reading Nicole’s point of view was visually (and intellectually) painful; James was...an improvement. My favorite of the three, assuredly, if only because he wasn’t as self-centered as both girls.

Know what, I’m gonna tell each what my problem with them myself.


Rhiannon: I’ve been heartbroken before. It’s not a good feeling, far from it. But unless you’re at that place in your life where you can relate, reading an in-depth, blow-by-blow account of someone else’s road to recovery is emotionally exhausting. You just can’t pay me enough to go through the whole dumped routine. I have (and will have) plenty of opportunities to peruse the discarded-girl neediness myself and unless it’s me or a good friend who needs comforting, I just don’t go there. Being clingy and bringing your nostalgia to sight every other sentence is not okay. Take a break before beginning a narration.

Nicole: You wouldn’t have been so bad to read about if your point of view weren’t rigged with question marks and conjunctions. For the record: It’s okay not to begin a sentence with "and" or "but". And this? Grates my nerves. Breaking sentences? Is not cute. At first, I loved how natural your voice was, true to most teenagers, myself included. But then I realized that, if we are to utilize our day-to-day vernacular when speaking, we shouldn’t go on for too long. It is DAMN ANNOYING.

Example (from ARC page 108, checked against Khyrinthia's final copy):

He’s like, "Hot?"

And I’m like, "Huh?" And I’m all freaked out because two seconds ago I was thinking how I’m totally sweating and I must look disgusting and I can feel the sweat pooling on my upper lip and how attractive is that? Not very. And I was thinking how I should go to the bathroom and make sure I look okay, but I so don’t want to leave this room, and then all of a sudden he asked if I was hot like he could totally read my mind. Which just proves how connected we are.

So he says, "Are you hot?" And I’m starting to suspect that maybe he doesn’t just think about math all day.

I go, "I guess I am. A little."

And he goes to turn on the fan and I laugh at the absurdity of it all, and he's like, "What's so funny?"

And I’m like, "Nothing."

It really should come as no surprise that I only read the last page of your second narrative.

James: I have nothing bad to say about your voice. It was normal. Thank you.


Rhiannon: Chalk scene. No no. Not witty—just plain creepy. No. But good on you for finally getting over that jerk by the end. He wasn’t even all that from what I could tell.

Nicole: HOW COULD YOU LET RHIANNON WRITE THE CHALK MESSAGE TO STEVE?!?! IN FRONT OF THE SCHOOL FOR EVERYONE TO SEE?! OH MY GOD, this is wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to start. First, you’d already told her he was with Gloria. Yes, there were the flowers found in Rhiannon’s locker she thought were from him. But still, you’d heard about him at that party on Saturday, long before the damn flowers materialized. So that little speech Rhiannon gave about the kiss you witnessed between Steve and Gloria meaning nothing was crap and you knew it. You didn’t need to justify the revenge you’re all gonna seek out from Gloria later on, as Gloria had ALREADY STOLEN STEVE. This was, seriously, the most unfounded plot twist EVER.

James: Again, nothing bad to say. Thank you.


Nothing character-specific now. I liked the premise of three POVs, but going back over everything three times was very slow moving. I only read Rhiannon’s account of the second half, skimmed over Nicole’s, and glanced at the last page of James’s. Oh, I also read the epilogue. But that’s it, no more.

As this is a C-level review, there are obviously things I liked about the books. First and foremost is the character Danny, Nicole’s ex-boyfriend. He straddles the line between primary and secondary character, though I think this novel would’ve greatly benefitted from spotlighting him some more. He’s got this incredibly vivacious streak and he was a teddy bear of a boyfriend: super sweet, caring, and attentive; in short, everything a girl would look for in a guy. I heart him.

I also grew very fond of the dialogue. You can’t deny Susane Colasanti knows what makes teens tick, and even if I thought her way of displaying it was sometimes overbearing, her dialogue was great.

I’m granting this book a C because it was, all things considered, just okay. Danny played a large part in its saving grace. I’ve heard great things about Susane Colasanti and her debut When It Happens, so I’ll be checking that one out. For this one, however, I would advise you to either wait for the paperback or get it from the library.


Alea said...

I've purchased When It Happens haven't read it yet. Looks like I picked the right one :)

Anonymous said...

Alea- I still suggest giving Take Me There a try. I loved it and while Steph provided a wonderful review, she's just one person. So I hope you give TMT a shot sometime and see what you think of it.

Anyway, great review, Steph! I won't say much more since we already had a discussion about it over GMail chat, lol. I'm glad you semi-enjoyed the book. :P

Alea said...

book chic- Don't worry I plan too. I wanted to read them in the order she wrote then anyways for some reason. Probably will wait to buy the paperback. I prefer them :) Probably by that time I'll be ready to read it anyways with my HUGE tbr pile I won't be getting to When It Happens for awhile probably. sigh... my bad book buying habits.

Amee said...

Great review! I love your straight-forward, hard-hitting honesty. I wish I was less of a wimp and could do that. ;)

Anonymous said...

I personally loved Take Me There and i hope to find more books like it. The different point of views was a unique thing that i've never seen before and it was helpful in understanding the whole story, even if it was a bit repetitive. Oh and one thing that I really disliked about the book was its predictability! i mean come on from the moment i was introduced to james, i knew him and rhiannon were going to get together in the end. Steve can suck it he seems like a real jerk and nicole should have been more open with rhiannon and yeah the whole chalk thing was the stupidest thing she could have done. like wow! that was the lamest thing ever and it just made rhiannon look desperate and it was just really bad

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Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph