Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Review: The Edge of Nowhere

Title: The Edge of Nowhere
Author: Elizabeth George
Teen Reviewer: Shannon Finney
Rating: 3/5 Stars

The Edge of Nowhere, #1 New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth George’s debut novel for young adults, is a multi-layered mystery full of suspense and intrigue. Readers that normally don’t go for mystery novels will enjoy the relatable teen situations, innocent romance, touch of the paranormal, and dark, enchanting setting. As a teen fiction novel, The Edge of Nowhere is exciting and enjoyable, and nails all the points that readers familiar with the genre expect. In a literary sense, however, I found the quality of the novel somewhat disappointing. 

The underlying conflict of the story is that Becca King, (whose real name is Laurel Armstrong,) is on the run from her mother’s husband, Jeff Corrie, who murdered his business partner. Her ability to hear peoples’ fragmented thoughts, called “whispers,” is how she knows about Jeff Corrie’s crime, and also what makes her his next target. She is sent to live without her mother on the remote Whidbey Island, where she is to stay until she is brought to live in their new house in Washington. The problems for Becca start as soon as she gets off the ferry, when things already don’t go as planned. If trying to conceal her true identity and special power is not complicated enough, things get worse for Becca when she gets tangled up in the many secrets of the island.  

Elizabeth George frequently introduces new mysteries, and compels the reader to turn the page to tie up the loose ends. The complexity of the novel is effective in getting the reader engulfed by the story, and eliminates the aspect of predictability, commonly found in teen fiction. The author’s expertise in spinning suspenseful and thrilling tales is what makes the novel all the more intriguing, and will leave the reader wondering what will happen next, until everything is resolved in the last chapter.        

To fully enjoy the book, however, I had to get passed a number of things; the style of writing, ambiguous character development, and unrealistic and sometimes frustratingly poor decisions made by Becca King, (such as opting to spend the night in a dog house already occupied by several Labrador retrievers instead of taking up an exceptionally hospitable island resident on her offer to help her out with anything she may need), make it hard to feel sympathy for the main character. It seemed like the standard of quality may have been lowered by Elizabeth George and her editor in producing teen fiction.  The novel was rife with awkward phrasing, punctuation errors, and unrealistic dialogue. If you are a teen-fiction fan who is more interested in the story-line than the quality of writing in a book, than these flaws will not detract from your enjoyment of the novel.

The characters in The Edge of Nowhere are contrasting in appearance and personality, but not very well developed. While this may be additive, in a few cases, to the mysteriousness of the novel, it fails to invoke that feeling of familiarity to me, especially with Becca King. I thought her ability to hear peoples’ thoughts should be accompanied by an intuition that is unique to her, but that aspect of her personality is not apparent. In fact, nothing about her personality is obvious, as she is an under-developed character. The opportunity to create an interesting, relatable heroin, which, to many readers, is a crucial aspect in creating a successful teen-fiction novel, was missed by Elizabeth George. However, there are plenty of other interesting secondary characters, including Seth Darrow, a misunderstood musician/high school dropout, Derric Mathieson, a kind, handsome Ugandan boy, and Jenn McDaniels, the mean spirited fussbudget that nobody likes. The romance that sparks between Becca and Derric that slowly develops throughout the book is endearing and adds to the suspense factor.

Overall, Elizabeth George’s The Edge of Nowhere has an enjoyable, enticing story line that will keep you turning the page. If you are less concerned with literary excellence and more interested in a novel with a mysterious, intriguing, and romantic story-line, then this is a book that you will enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment