As is commonly known if you’ve
stalked followed me for a while: I read a lot of books. Hence MINI REVIEWS are absolute life savers. I get to blather on about books more and you get twice the book in one post. And, um, as is common with mini reviews…I didn’t form any grand emotional barnacle attachment to the books in question. BUT! They are Australian. So there is 84% of the reason you need to check them out. But onwards shall we?
\\ Thank you to UQP Press for the review copies! //
I had an interesting time eating Talk Under Water by Kathryn Lomer. I basically call this book the equivalent of tuna patties — most parts were tasty but, ugh, tuna is dull. BUT! I felt like I learnt a lot from this book because it features a deaf protagonist! YAY FOR DIVERSITY. (And also, I’m totally selfish but I squawked with delight because it’s excellent research for my own book about a deaf girl.) Anyway. Unfortunately the plot made me nap with the fishes.
Summer and Will (dual narrators) meet online and quickly become fast friends in real life. They’re kind of adorable. Their relationship is friendship first and then develops into a cute little romance. I SHIP THESE WEE LITTLE SQUIDS. And you want to know the absolutely best part? When Will learns Summer is deaf…he immediately takes sign language classes! This little octopi does everything one hundred percent right.
Also there is much water. Much sailing. Much yachts. Much spinach pie. If you want my personal opinion on the matter of spinach pie…ew. It’s worse than tuna. BUT HEY. I’m not reviewing the characters’ taste buds.
But there was about 4% conflict. THE ENTIRE BOOK FELT TOO EASY. So while this was a) adorable, and b) I learnt much … it didn’t hook me. What is the porpoise of this story?!! Ha ha ha did you see what I did there? DID YOU?
Oh, oh, I have to mention this, although I figure it was done for aesthetics…but there’s no dialogue marks. NONE. IT DROVE ME BATTIER THAN A CLOWNFISH. I could barely tell the dialogue from the prose. Will is really into poetry, and E.E. Cummings, who wrote without punctuation and in lowercase…but if that was the vibe they wanted, why not write in lowercase too? Just cutting out the dialogue marks was soooo awkward and hard to read.
If you want to know more about deafness and sailing: THIS BE YOUR BOOK. If you want happy endings and slow-burn romance, eat this book. If you want excitement and emotional roller coasters? Perhaps play with an electric eel.
Frankie and Joely and I had a few arguments. Mostly over the definition of the term “friend”. I mean, maybe I’m just weird and backwards, but I thought “friend” was someone you actually LIKED. Agh. There was so much backstabbing and sniping in this book. I really struggle to believe Joely and Frankie were friends. If the book hadn’t specifically told me…I basically saw 0% evidence of it.
OKAY! OKAY! But it’s not all doom and gloom! I enjoyed some parts a lot. It’s a story about two city friends (ha) going to the country to hang out for a week.
- How it was Australian. AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE!!! And there was lots of Australian slang and mannerisms and references and it felt altogether homey.
- Frankie loved op-shopping (thrift store). HECK YES. I love that too.
- It was set in summer and stinkin’ hot books are always FUN to read. Lots of ice cream and pools and sunburn. Just feels like Australia, ya know?
- I really really like the name Frankie.
- I think the writing added in some delicious little details that often made the description POP with awesomeness.
- Omnipresent narrative. Yeah…no thank you. The thought of being in anyone’s head at any time is too exhausting.
- It took me 50-pages to actually figure out Joely and Franke’s personalities because all the head-bopping lead to them being smushed together.
- When I did figure out Frankie and Joely…gee, they were unpleasant little periwinkles. They were forever getting offended at each other, being clingy and snabby (this is a word here which means “snarky” and “back stabby’), and their logic WAS JUST NOT VIABLE.
Take this for instance:
Frankie always has a book in her bag, books nobody else has read. Joely would like to read them too. She wants Frankie to offer to lend one, but she never has. There’s no way Joely will ask because she doesn’t want to seem too interested.
Um, why? Why can’t you be interested in your friend’s book?! WHY?
It’s basically a story about FRIENDSHIP and how it’s sometimes a ship you want to nosedive off…but it can be worth sticking with. Unfortunately, I didn’t relate to anyone or anything in this book — except perhaps the dead kangaroo. It was a quick, easy read, and totally gave an outback little-country-town Aussie vibe which was GREAT. But seriously, if this is friendship? I’M JUST GONNA BE THE HERMIT IN THE CORNER.