Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Poltergeeks, by Sean Cummings- Review

From Goodreads:
15-year-old Julie Richardson is about to learn that being the daughter of a witch isn't all it's cracked up to be. When she and her best friend, Marcus, witness an elderly lady jettisoned out the front door of her home, it's pretty obvious to Julie there's a supernatural connection.

In fact, there's a whisper of menace behind increasing levels of poltergeist activity all over town. After a large-scale paranormal assault on Julie's high school, her mother falls victim to the spell Endless Night. Now it's a race against time to find out who is responsible or Julie won't just lose her mother's soul, she'll lose her mother's life.

Oh Poltergeeks, how I wanted to like you, honestly I did.  Your author is from Saskatoon (awesomesauce), you had a kick ass heroine, there are ghosts and magic and a geeky boy love interest, what more could a girl want?  Well it turns out, these things paled against a small variety of annoying things that nagged at me all the way through the book, until I was  pulling my hair out in frustration over them.

This was the first ever instance where I found an author writing about the opposite sex, hit some really unrealistic notes.  It was subtle to begin with, tiny little comments or actions that just didn't feel like a teen girl to me (you know, speaking from experience, because I was one, once upon a time), but eventually became a large problematic issue for me.  Teen girls do not get jealous, then refer to themselves as bitches over it, in the same sentence.  Generally speaking, girls do not call themselves bitches, and definitely not over emotions about a boy (they call other teen girls bitches, but not themselves).  I had a Lorena Bobbit moment with an ex (it was a manic rage, I didn't do any stabbing people, see? I'm not in jail), and I don't even refer to it as a bitchy moment.  Because if there is one thing that girls will own, it's their emotions.  Also, that is totally what a teenage boy is thinking after a jealous rant, that- and he's likely contemplating if she's having her period.

Overall it seemed to be primarily editing issues that I took particular issue with.  People were always "padding" places, and the number of times Julie gritted, or ground her teeth together would have demolished her lovely smile in record time, god knows it had me gnashing my teeth in frustration.  These are such topical clean up issues I'm assuming they were tided away from ARC to finished copy (one deeply hopes, for the health of every readers teeth).  Unfortunately the undying love of similes Sean Cummings has, likely stayed in the finished copy.  Everything was "like" something else, and after awhile it became decidedly inelegant.  Style is a carefully crafted thing, difficult to hone in on and not easily achieved, which is why it sets apart authors so significantly.  Cummings needs to work on his language, he has the ideas there, and the pacing is decent, but the use of language is bringing his story down.

My final complaint is that I saw the bad guy coming a mile off, which wouldn't really be an issue if the story had been tighter overall, but since it wasn't it was just another annoying thing while reading.  In the end I was surprised this wasn't Cummings first book, it had a lot of beginners mistakes.  But I fault his editor more than him, this was a story that needed some careful editing, it would have improved substantially from it.  Like I say the little things are just little until they add up to an overwhelming wave of annoying little things, then they overtake the story and that's the end.

A book I really wanted to like, but I just couldn't see past all the annoying little things.

Poltergeeks, by Sean Cummings
Published by Strange Chemistry, October 2, 2012
My copy kindly provided by the publisher
Buy Poltergeeks on Amazon