I received this book as an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) through GoodReads. The book's release date is September 4, 2012.
Title: The Edge of Nowhere
Author: Elizabeth George
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
The Ingredients: Becca King is on the run from her step father after discovering his criminal activities. When she arrives on Whidbey Island she soon discovers she is not the only one with secrets. She is soon thrown into teenage drama and a who-done-it mystery after she discovers a popular teen at the bottom of a ridge, nearly dead.
The Frosting and Sprinkles: It's a fast and easy read to get through and there were moments where I was interested in the story, but...
The Hair That Fell Into the Batter: Oh man, where do I begin with this mess? I really wanted to like this book. It was my first ARC and I believe Elizabeth George is a good writer. I read one of her Inspector Lynley novels several years ago when they were first published. It was pretty good.
But, just because a writer can write a good adult mystery does not mean she/he is cut out for writing YA fiction. This book is the perfect example of why adult fiction writers should not write YA just because it's popular and seems easy. Guess what-it isn't.
George's characters in The Edge of Nowhere are very one-dimensional and shallow. They are so obvious I can label them "the popular good guy" and "the smart popular girl" and "weirdo outsider" and "mean girl who is only mean because she has family issues."
The plot was not interesting. We don't get to the actual mystery until 1/4 way into the book (George spends the first 1/4 setting up her trilogy...yes, it's going to be a trilogy because OBVIOUSLY every YA book needs to be part of a trilogy these days). The solution to the mystery is ridiculous and unsatisfying. I mean, ridiculous. The "twists" in the novel didn't really add to the plot. Perhaps they will be important later in the trilogy?
A lot in the story was hard to believe and George didn't pull off making it believable. For instance, the people on this island have known each other all their lives (minus Becca, the newcomer) and now they all think each other is capable of shoving someone off a mountain ridge-except Becca, the newcomer. They all trust her-the girl they just met who is obviously lying about who she is. Then, when they are accused of attempted murder, they have a brief spurt of anger and then later act like, "Hey, it's not big deal you thought I was a murder. I understand." Huh?
George also makes it obvious that she thinks teenagers are shallow idiots. Not only is her writing dumbed down in this novel, but her teen characters' actions are just well, dumb and unbelievable. For example, Hayley's boyfriend breaks up with her because he sees her kissing another guy (understandable). She can't understand why he dumped her. After all, it was no big deal. It was just a kiss-a kiss she liked and might do again, but hey, that's no reason to dump her. But WAIT-then she turns all nice and tries to set her new friend up with the guy whom she kissed and liked it and might do it again. Oh, and she has no problem at all seeing them make out with each other. Huh?
The element I found most annoying was Becca's supernatural gift to read "whispers," or fragments of people's thoughts. Why oh why do writers feel they HAVE to throw in some supernatural element to make their YA novel likeable? It's a cheap trick. Not only is it a cheap trick, but George used it to cheaply create plot elements that she couldn't make believable in any other way. A prime example of this is Becca and Derrick's "connection." SPOILER ALERT: As a reader, I am supposed to believe that despite the fact that he is in a coma through 3/4 of the book and that they've never had a deep conversation with each other in their life, Becca+Derrick= True Love because she feels all tingly when she touches his comatose body. I really have no words for this.
Finally, why oh why, is George obsessed with Becca's weight? Does she think this will make her connect with teens? The constant comments about Becca's weight in no way add to her character or the plot. It's annoying and pointless-and just feeds the notion that teens should be pre-occupied with their looks.
I only finished this book because it was an ARC. The publisher will probably never give me another one after this, but I have to be honest.
1 Out of 5 Cupcakes.
(Didn't like it.)