Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review: The Girl Who Never Was

THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS
Otherworld #1
Skylar Dorset
Paranormal Young Adult
304 pages
Sourcebooks Fire
Available Now
Source: BEA

THE STORY (from Amazon)
"Today is my birthday."

In Selkie's family, you don't celebrate birthdays. You don't talk about birthdays. And you never, ever reveal your birth date."

Until now.

The instant Selkie blurts out the truth to Ben in the middle of Boston Common, her whole world shatters.

Because her life has been nothing but a lie—an elaborate enchantment meant to conceal the truth: Selkie is a half-faerie princess.

And her mother wants her dead.

MY THOUGHTS
The Girl Who Never Was is an unusual read, not so much in terms of characters or plot, but more in the way we feel upon finishing given our reaction and opinion are somewhat difficult to pin down. Those readers who enjoy stories rich with faeries and magic–where the world itself doesn’t make complete sense and searching out answers only results in more questions–will undoubtedly be swept up in the newfound strangeness of Selkie’s (who is in fact not a selkie) previously ordinary world, but those who crave order and explanation, even with regard to all things fantastical, might have a slightly harder time.

Selkie’s story is told in a more simplistic writing style; a matter-of-fact quality to it that takes a little while to adjust to at first, and while it’s not long before we no longer notice it, it does keep this tale on a more superficial level. We don’t get to delve too deeply into Selkie’s thoughts, feelings, or motivations, and when we meet her she’s already hopelessly (and adorably) in love with Ben whom she’s known for years but has only spent brief moments with each day. We don’t get to experience the building of that love even though we bear witness to the moment their relationship irrevocably changes, so it’s an aspect of her journey that we merely accept as part and parcel of who Selkie is without losing a piece of ourselves to their relationship as we might wish to.

Though it might sound thus far as though The Girl Who Never Was is lacking in many ways, truth be told that’s not the case at all, rather it’s a story quite entertaining and easy to lose ourselves in even if the way in which we get lost is not solely on the emotional level. Selkie’s story demands attention and holds it throughout, the cruelty of the Seelie Court and their utter disregard for any life outside their own ensuring we’re rooting for her and Ben to bring them all to their knees, fulfilling one of the many prophecies that have dictated how Selkie’s entire life has been lived.

We’re left with the first real tug on our heartstrings as a parting gift, life for Selkie clearly only going to get harder rather than easier as this series progresses. Overall, The Girl Who Never Was is a one-sit type of read, not the kind to deliver a punch to the gut or render us speechless for days after reading, but it’s a pleasure to read nonetheless, and it leaves us with just the right amount of anticipation as we look forward to book two.

Rating: 3.5-4/5

Find Skylar:

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This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

34 comments:

  1. Wow, I'm so intrigued by this book and REALLY like the cover! Wonderful honest review, Jenny! :) But, it doesn't seem THAT great sadly. The fact that the writing is simplistic and stuff lack of depth may make me push the reading date for me to read it a bit...ah yeah farther. :P Thanks a lot for sharing though! :)

    Lola @Seeing Night Reviews



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    1. Isn't the cover gorgeous? I enjoyed this one overall for sure Lola, it just wasn't quite as character driven as I typically like.

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  2. honestly, your review points out exactly what I was fearing about the book, or rather what I was expecting. Cute story, but nothing that completely wows us over. While I might be fine with simplistic writing, I want more emotions.

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    1. Yes, I wanted a bit more of an emotional punch as well. There's a moment at the end that finally tugged on my heart, so I am looking forward to seeing where things go in the next book:)

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  3. Hmm...don't know what to think from your review. i can't decide whether or not i'd want to read a book that seems to bring out more questions than it answers. I like that as a literary technique but this sounds like it's more of a lack of plotting.

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    1. It's a quick read Alison, perfect for a day when you just want to be entertained:)

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  4. A book that does not exactly deliver a punch but could still make the readers anticipate the next installment? Hmm, I don't really think faery books are for me but I'm definitely intrigued by this one. I also feel like you're quite ambivalent with your reaction to the novel but at least you mentioned how this book is still an entertaining read. I think I'll take your word for it so I'll check out this book.

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    1. I did like this one for sure Sarah, it just was missing the emotional element for me and that's what I really crave. It was a fun adventure, I just wanted more from the characters. I do think I might get that in the sequel though:)

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  5. I'm worried that I'm going to be one of those readers who probably will be confused by everything going on. I've wanted to read the book because of that gorgeous cover. I might eventually borrow it from the library although I'm a bit disappointed that we don't get to see the start of Ben and Selkie's relationship! You know how much I love to experience every emotion that comes with first love. :)
    I'm glad you enjoyed it overall though, Jenny.
    Lovely review as always!

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    1. I really would have liked a flashback or something to the moment Selkie met Ben, just so I could see what she thought/felt, but the two of them were cute enough together:)

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  6. Selkie who's not a selkie? This confuses me. Maybe I need more coffee.

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    1. Heh. I completely understand your confusion:)

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  7. Fantastic review as always Jenny!
    I'm still on the fence about this one, that cover is stunning and it sounds like it's a good read but on the other hand I tend to want explanations world building to make sense (at least within the books limits) and I've never been the biggest fan of the Fae...

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    1. I love, love, LOVE the cover Pili! And I was a fan of the book overall, I just wanted something...more:) Maybe wait until book 2 is out - I'll let you know if we get a few more explanations for certain things!

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    2. I think I'll do just that, Jenny! Thank you! =D

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  8. I admit, the cover in this is gorgeous! I really want to read this one but I am still so scared it won't be for me. I guess I will never know until I dive in right?

    Wonderful review as always Jenny!

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  9. I'm not sure I'd enjoy this much due to the lack of world-building, but this seems to offer the perfect kind of entertainment for a light read. I'll be sure to keep it in mind when I'm in the mood, Jenny--fantastic review!

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  10. Hmmm. I honestly wasn't really interested in this one at first sight, but I'm more than a little interested now. :) Great review!

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  11. Huh, you know, I'm not exactly sure how I would feel about this one! I mean, I do love all things fantasy, but I definitely like things to make some sort of sense anyways. I'll have to keep an eye on this series to see how it develops before making further decision on whether to read it or not. Great job on this review as always, Jenny!

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  12. This book sounds really interesting! I had the same feelings (not a GREAT book, but entertaining nonetheless) about the last book I reviewed. I haven't read a book about faeries in quite a long time, but I may just have to give this one a shot!

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  13. Oh I'm in love with the cover, it's the first time I hear about this one. It sounds nice even if some points are noted. I always love to have something a little different.

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  14. Right now I am completely confused as to whether I want to read this one or not. I am someone who craves explanations and likes it when things click and make sense and while some of the things you mentioned (including not really getting to see a relationship bloom) would really bother me, I am still intrigued. It does sound like a story that in it's own unusual way might capture my attention and be totally worth it.

    Lovely review, Jenny!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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  15. "Selkie’s (who is in fact not a selkie)" LOL! I'm kind of sad to hear that there's no build up for the romance, but I'm still glad that there is one and with a person she has known for a long, long time. This sounds like a wonderful read as a whole. I'm glad you enjoyed, Jenny :)

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  16. I'm not sure I can get past the name "Selkie" especially when she isn't one. I was intrigued by this because of the Boston setting, but I'm not sure if it's enough to pull me in. I'm glad you found it to be entertaining and enjoyable overall. I like those low stress books sometimes. But I think I'll wait for book 2 to see where it goes before committing.

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  17. I'm been reading mixed reviews for this one, and while I was very excited to read it, I'm sort of anxious to pick it up. I'm not sure I'll enjoy the matter-of-fact writing style, though. Great review, Jenny!

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  18. There are sure many half somethings out there that finds they are something more ;)

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  19. I don't know if I would like this, I am sure I would like certain things but I get so frustrated with shaky world building and unanswered questions.

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  20. I've only gotten about 1/3rd of the way through and I'm kind of...meh. I might finish it if I have time but I also might DNF it. *sigh*

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  21. Nice to see you enjoyed this read even if it didn't knock your socks off, Jenny. I think that the romance might be a little bit of a disappointment because I do love to see the beginning and discovery of their feelings for each other and it doesn't seem like that happened here. Wonderful review! :)

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  22. "Those readers who enjoy stories rich with faeries and magic–where the world itself doesn’t make complete sense and searching out answers only results in more questions - "

    Hmmm ... No, that's not really me. This book does sound interesting, but I not sure if it's for me. Hope the 2nd book knocks your socks off! :)

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  23. Never heard of this book but, I'm like the cover and the way you describe it. Will add it to my pile.

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  24. Hmm . . . on the one hand, fairies. On the other hand, I don't like merely accepting romantic relationships. I think this is one I'm going to wait on. I definitely see potential. Oh, who am I kidding--it's already on my wishlist. But I still might hold off for awhile b/c this is the kind of book that I either love or really, really hate.

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  25. I've had this one on my tbr list ever since that darn, gorgeous cover caught my eye and the Selkie's were mentioned! I'm glad it was an enjoyable read, Jenny. I'm looking forward to checking this one out still :)

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  26. I don't really remember hearing much (or anything) about this one. I'm not sure if I'd like it or not but I might have to look it up.

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