Title: Saving Zoe
Author: Alyson Noel
Genre: Fiction, YA
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (2011)
Rating: 2.5/6 – It was okay. I won’t be keeping it.
Synopsis from cover: It’s been one year since the brutal murder of her older sister, Zoe, and fifteen-year-old Echo is still reeling from the aftermath. Her parents are numb, her friends are moving on, and the awkward start to her freshman year proves she’ll never live up to her sister’s memory. Until Zoe’s former boyfriend Marc shows up with Zoe’s diary.
At first Echo’s not interested, doubting there’s anything in there she doesn’t already know. But when curiosity prevails, she starts reading, becoming so immersed in her sister’s secret world that their lives begin to blur, forcing Echo to uncover the truth behind Zoe’s life so that she can start to rebuild her own.
Prepare to laugh your heart out and cry your eyes out in this highly addictive tale as Alyson Noel tackles the complicated relationship between two sisters and shows how the bond can endure long after one of them is gone.
My Initial Thoughts/Rambling: The first half of this book was pretty hard to get through – I’m not going to lie. It picked up in the end, but not enough to redeem itself. I’m writing this review at night, and by this time tomorrow I’ll have sold it to my used book store!
What did I think about the characters? Other than Zoe (who didn’t exist outside of the diary entries Echo reads), I didn’t like any of the other characters. The only other exception might be Marc, Zoe’s boyfriend, but even then he made some pretty crappy decisions. There were several times I had to skip back a few paragraphs because I couldn’t distinguish between the voices of the characters. None of them were very compelling, and most of the time I felt annoyed!
And the concept and plot? The concept, while interesting enough to make me buy a book without any previous knowledge, didn’t pan out in the execution. It was like reading two different stories: Echo’s freshman year of high school, and the last few months of Zoe’s life. I really liked Zoe’s diary, and that subplot was the main reason I kept reading. It was heartbreaking, and I really did feel something for Zoe in the end. Echo’s story line, on the other hand, just wasn’t it for me. Other than the dead sister, it was a plot I had read a million times over.
One thing I wasn’t prepared for: the story was actually way darker than I expected. Specifically, relating to the details of Zoe’s murder. Kind of depressing, really, but what makes it even worse is knowing that that kind of situation happens way too often.
What about the writing style? I felt like Noel relied too much on the stereotypes of teen girls. I mean, I use oh my god sometimes, and even whip out the old ermagherd when I feel like it, but less than half of the teen girls my age and younger use “OHMIGOD” at the beginning of every sentence. To be honest it felt a little juvenile.
Anything else you’d like to add? Mmm… I think I’ve said my peace about this one. I probably won’t be picking up another Alyson Noel novel (my apologies to those of you who are fans!).