Author: Josh Grayson
Genre: YA, romance, contemporary fiction
Publisher: Josh Grayson (November 20, 2013)
Rating: 5/6 – I loved it!
Synopsis from NetGalley: When seventeen-year-old Sia wakes up on a park bench, she has no idea who or where she is. Yet after a week of being homeless, she’s reunited with her family. At school, she’s powerful and popular. At home, she’s wealthy beyond her dreams. But she quickly realizes her perfect life is a lie. Her family is falling apart and her friends are snobby, cruel and plastic. Worse yet, she discovers she was the cruelest one. Mortified by her past, she embarks on a journey of redemption and falls for Kyle, the “geek” she once tormented. Yet all the time she wonders if, when her memories return, she’ll become the bully she was before…and if she’ll lose Kyle.
My Initial Thoughts/Rambling: I don’t know how to say this without being sexist, so I’ll just put it as I think it and hope that no on burns me at the stake. I was really surprised to find that this book had been written by a dude, but honestly I think that’s the reason I truly enjoyed this book: Grayson focused less on the romance and more on the journey and friendships. It was glorious, and made my heart squeal and sing all at once! Possible Spoilers Ahead.
Disclaimer: I was given a free ebook copy of Sia from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
What did I think about the characters? I don’t even know where to begin. Grayson’s characters just come to life on the page, and they’re so unique and distinct from each other that each one is like a real person standing next to me while I read. All of them are really believable, like I could run into these people any day.
Sia’s transformation after her amnesia sets in is an organic and gradual process, and I never felt like saying, “Really? That’s where we’re going with this?” Of course, there’s the realization that she used to be the meanest girl in the school, and her determination to change that. She works on her relationship with her alcoholic mother and stressed out father (and can I just say THANK YOU to Grayson for portraying a family not torn apart? It’s really a horrid trend in YA that parents and their teens are doomed to be mortal enemies), and they band together in the face of rehab and the loss of their home and lifestyle. Sia’s change of heart was genuine, and it was a real pleasure to go on that journey with her.
And then there’s Kyle. He’s just made the top of my Literary Boyfriend list. I think he’s the first male character that I actually feel is very true to a teenage boy. He’s not dark and mysterious, but rather a bit goofy and occasionally moody. Plus, when he and Sia go to the Oscar’s (long story, but it’s not a wackadoodle plot point – it actually makes sense!), Kyle fanboys over Robert Downey Jr. (“Oh my god it’s Iron Man!”) And that is the exact point where I fell in love.
And the concept and plot? The concept is one I’ve read before, in the form of Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zavin (see my review here), but I honestly preferred Sia over MoTA. Zavin’s book focused on the romantic relationships after amnesia, and while Grayson incorporated some of that, his focus was more on realizing what’s important in life. A much better focus in my opinion!
Plot: At the beginning of the book, I was just as confused as Sia, but gradually everything came a bit clearer, so I really was taken along the same journey as Sia. Afterward, it took a different turn than I expected, but it was a welcome divergence from what I had anticipated, and a pleasant change of pace. Nothing felt forced or rushed, and everything developed at the perfect time.
What about the writing style? I’m not sure what else I can add here, but Grayson has that special spark that made reading this book a true joy. His characters are honest and believable and his plot isn’t cliche or contrived. And, the best part is that the romance was a side plot, not the main focus. The love for Grayson overflows!
Anything else you’d like to add? I joined the mailing list for any updates from Grayson on his website, and I’ll be watching out for his future books and buying each and every one! And when Sia is published, I’ll be buying a paperback copy for my shelves. It’s that good!
Find the book at:
Amazon: Not yet available
Barnes and Noble: Not yet available
Book Depository: Not yet available