Oh, boy. Here we go.
Few things you should know before I go on with my review.
a) I'm not this book's target audience, but I have enjoyed books in this genre.
b) I know good writing when I see it. Unfortunately, I did see any in here. This is bare-minimum, barely-scratch-the-surface, creative-writing-course prose. It's a heavy outline, is what it is. Bland narratives do not a happy reader make.
c) I actually thought I'd like this premise. That's why I requested a copy for review. Thanks to Crown Publishing for the chance to read this for free. I always feel bad when I have to shit on a freebie, but I can't help it. I couldn't enjoy the premise because the writing and chapter length was maddening.
Having chapters with fewer words than the ingredients on a bag of lettuce is fucking annoying. No. Scratch that. It's infuriating. If it's one thing a writer should never do is go full James Patterson. Nicola Yoon went full Patterson. The book is written in this Twitter-post-length style that is aggravating and distracting. The moment you start to get a feel for a situation a new chapter from a different POV comes along and fistfucks the flow of the book.
Yoon tells you why these characters are different, but they never feel different, unless of course she's writing in broken English, then I guess it's kinda obvious the main characters aren't the ones talking. If you've seen Margaret Cho do an impersonation of her mother, you'll recognize some of the dialogue.
From the author: I wrote this book for anyone who's ever desperately searched for meaning. For everyone who asks the big questions. For all the dreamers and questioners.
You know what I'm searching for and questioning and dreaming of? Where everyone is in this book. There's no details of their surroundings. At one point she mentions a theater and the description tells us that the place was small, what the marquee said, and that tickets were fifteen bucks. WHAT THE FUCK DID THE PLACE LOOK LIKE, YOON? Oh, right, we've all been in a theater so fuck us, right? There's also some repetition with the word small. Everything is "very small" or "too small". Well, not Everything, Everything (see what I did there? The author's first book is... Never mind.), but a lot of stuff is "too small" or "very small", and so was my patience with this book. My patience was so too very small that it was minuscule to nonexistent.
In summation: Requesting this book was a mistake. But not because it's not my genre of choice or anything I could have known before opening the book itself. I guess I could've saved my time and effort by checking the Look Inside on Amazon. So my bad. Yoon and I definitely do not gel. I'll pass on anything else from her.
Final Judgment: Introducing the new YA novel, now with 50% less words and 3,000,000% more chapters!