Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

Hannah hasn’t got your typical parents. Her dad’s something of a has-been celebrity trying to keep his fame well into his old age (he’s over seventy) and her mom’s recent claim to fame is a pizza commercial for which she was barely clad. Hannah’s perfected the art of flying under the radar at school but with her mom’s recent antics, that which she’d achieved is compromised.

All too sudden, way too many things start changing—her father who hasn’t spoken to her in five years wants to reconnect (but it might just be for his show’s ratings), her somewhat stabilized work life gets a pulse (except there are two—cute, whether she wants it so or not—guys there, and how do you keep from getting confused in such a scenario?), and drama keeps finding its way to her door.

Initially, Hannah’s mom Candy is presented as your average overgrown child, but she immediately springs a surprising amount of substance. It was refreshing to see a book where the relationship between the protagonist and their parents wasn’t transparent or unilateral. She’s troubled, and a good, unique type of troubled that didn’t involve bottomless pity-parties with no resonance whatsoever. This part—along with the entire family subplot, and the general plot—was revealed in layers, deliberate and gradual, and it worked really well.

You know, I don’t care what Elizabeth Scott is known for, I firmly believe her forte is family-building. Every single book of hers has a number of constants you can expect—intuition tells you where the romance is going; the main characters are, obviously, relatable—but the family is always a surprise (in a good way). The usual trope gives way to a happy resolution, but not in Elizabeth’s books. She strikes the balance the reality of the situation by not giving any happy endings and giving a definite feeling of closure nevertheless.

Here, for instance, both parents have unusual jobs (which is proving to be a trademark, eh? Stealing Heaven’s premise comes to mind). Her dad owns a castle in upstate New York, for god’s sake. Anyway, they’re both eccentric personalities and neither are right per se (but who is?), and while it’s developed and explored in the book, in the end it’s not like they’re magically better, though Hannah does understand at least her mom better. I love this touch of realism.

Hmm, let’s put a fresh spin on my reviews. You know how in chemistry there’s that solubility thing where there’s a maximum amount of any given solute you can add to any given amount of a solvent before the solution becomes saturated? Well, like that. Reaching the max, but not going over (no weighty precipitation or overcharged, unstable supersaturation!).

In fact, if anything, this book made me feel weightless. Plot, voice, characters—they were all a thrill. And the best thing is that it’s not just a romance, as the official description leads one to believe. Once again, Elizabeth Scott delivers. B+

(P.S. Bonus points for Hannah not mentioning her name is a palindrome.)

Simon Pulse | 210 pages | March 24th, 2009 | Elizabeth Scott's site | Excerpt | GoodReads | Amazon | IndieBound

18 comments:

Khy said...

Oh no, science. -hides-

I probably shouldn't hide though, since I have a science test tomorrow...

Anyway. I've been hearing more negative things about this one, so I'm happy to hear that you liked it. I'm especially happy that I got this one today and don't have yell at you for making me want it more. :D

Bookworm said...

Oooh it looks good, I can't wait to read it!

Steph said...

Haha Khy :)

Honestly. You know, by a stretch of the imagination, I can kind of SEE how people might not like this as much as others by Elizabeth. But... I really liked it. I won't say it's Elizabeth's best (that would be Bloom); it's her lightest book yet, if I'm not mistaken (haven't read SH), so if that translates to "not as strong"...well, that's just stupid :)

Nevertheless, Steph love all around.

Steph

Ms Walsh said...

Okay, Elizabeth Scott is another author I need to track down. I love reading her blog, she's a sweetheart.This sounds like something I would dog.

Simply_Megan said...

This is on my shelf, waititng to be read. I'm glad you liked it!

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I'm looking forward to this book! I agree that Elizabeth Scott is great at writing families-and cool unusual ones that still feel so real. Great review-even if you did throw in some yucky science stuff!:)
-Sarah

Becky said...

I loved this one. I've loved each of her books in their own way. And I love how they have substance. They're just very satisfying to read.

Steph Su said...

You're right; Elizabeth Scott DOES build families very well. I first read Stealing Heaven by her and was very impressed with the complex mother-daughter relationship in it. Hopefully you get to read it someday!

Amee said...

Can't wait to read this one! I didn't understand a word of the chemistry paragraph. lol

Thao said...

^ Same here. But I'm glad you like it. I can't wait for this one to come out, and another one by Elizabeth in May too

H said...

Ah, I can't wait for this one! I agree about the family building, though I hadn't really thought about it before

Alea said...

This does sound enjoyable and I can't wait to read it. I love eccentric family stories!

Elizabeth said...

WORD on the not-mentioning-the-palindrome thing.

stargirlreads said...

I need to read this!!!

Liviania said...

I'm so glad I'm done with my science. Except for upper div honors physics . . . AH!

But this one sounds awesome.

Ronni said...

I really enjoy Elizabeth Scott's work, and she's such a fun person to boot. I am very much looking forward to this book. Thanks for the review!

YA Book Realm said...

OMG I just had a test on Solubility in Chem friday, totally bombed the part we i had to do math and finding the limiting reactants and a whole bunch of shit.

And wow awesome review. I was just about to post a review of this one. lol

Melissa Walker said...

I love Elizabeth and her writing. I just think it feels like listening to a friend tell you a story.

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