ARC Review: Twigs by Alison Ashley Formento

Title: Twigs
Author: Alison Ashley Formento
Pages: 272
Genre: YA, contemporary fiction
Series? No
Publisher: F+W/Adams Media (September 18, 2013)
Rating: 3/6 – I liked it

Synopsis from NetGalley: One pint-sized girl. Ten supersized crises. And it’s high noon.

They call her “Twigs,” because she’ll never hit five feet tall. Although she was born early, and a stiff breeze could knock her over, Twigs has a mighty spirit. She needs it, as life throws a whole bucket of rotten luck at her: Dad’s an absentee drunk; Mom’s obsessed with her new deaf boyfriend (and Twigs can’t tell what they’re saying to each other). Little sister Marlee is trying to date her way through the entire high school; Twigs’ true love may be a long-distance loser after a single week away at college, and suddenly, older brother Matt is missing in Iraq. It all comes together when a couple of thugs in a drugstore aisle lash out, and Twigs must fight to save the life of the father who denied her.

My Initial Thoughts/Rambling: So this is one of those books where I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it, hence the three stars. There was an equal amount of good and bad, and overall I enjoyed it, but I’m not in love with it. It was a nice read for a lazy afternoon! Possible Spoilers Ahead.

Disclaimer: I received a free ebook of Twigs from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

What did I think about the characters? I think this was the hardest part for me to handle, because most of the personalities were so far removed from how I view and react to situations. It’s 100% a personal thing, but it just made it hard to really connect with the characters.

You have Helen (my favorite character, actually), whose husband just left her for another woman, throwing hair dye bottles in a gas-station store and attacking her husband’s car with a sledgehammer after threatening to run him over. Then there’s Twigs, who runs away from a lot of her problems, and when she stays it always ends in physical altercations that seem a bit blown out of proportion. After her husband left, Twigs’ mom sleeps with a million different men before settling on Deaf Lou (yes – that’s how he’s referred to throughout the whole story; I’ll address that in a minute) and is highly removed from Twigs’ life. It was just a huge conglomeration of problems and explosive personalities, and as someone who internalizes everything it was pretty alienating. Again, this is all a personal problem.

Okay, now I just need to take a moment and talk about Deaf Lou. This was pointed out by another review I saw, and I thought she made a great point that I want to expound on here. Lou is identified by his disability throughout the entire book, and that’s really the only characteristic that Formento puts forward. This is such a shame too, since I genuinely liked Lou. Despite the family’s screwed up dynamics, he sticks through it all patiently and lovingly, providing some much needed support. I wish he had been portrayed as more than a disability!

And the concept and plot? The concept had a lot of promise, and I wanted so badly to empathize with Twigs, but beyond the daddy issues I just couldn’t connect with her. 

The plot was also very slow in the get go, and then it everything was thrown at me at the very last section. It was like being hit from all sides, and very disorienting! If it had been a bit more spread out, I think I would have been able to warm up a bit better to Twigs and all the other characters.

What about the writing style? I would have liked a bit more description, but that’s just me being picky. Formento can write very well, I think it was just the personal issues I had with the book that made me less than ecstatic. 

Anything else you’d like to add? Don’t let my issues hold you back! I really do recommend the book, but if you’re a quieter personality like me then it might be just a bit harder to connect with all the characters.

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