Between the Spark and the Burn

Between the Spark and the Burn

Book - 2014
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"Seventeen-year-old Violet is looking for the boy she fell in love with last summer, the charismatic liar River West Redding, but as she scours the country for him, she begins to wonder who she's really chasing-- and who she really loves"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, New York : Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, [2014]
ISBN: 9780803740471
0803740476
Characteristics: 320 pages ; 22 cm

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goddessbeth
Jan 17, 2019

I remember loving the first book, for the gothic atmosphere, the interesting presence of a long-dead character (not as a ghost, but as an influence on the atmosphere and the main character), and the fact that the romantic interest was a bit of a sociopath. It was a unique set of elements that offered no easy storytelling 'out'. But it's also been YEARS since I read the first book, so the shine has worn off.

This one felt like a pretty different beast entirely. The setting is a road trip, so right away the gothic air was gone. There were some eerie, horror elements, but nothing as striking as I'd hoped for. The past plays perhaps an even bigger role in this book, but it also felt more disconnected. I appreciated that it turns out Freddie is not a good person, at all, in terms of that being unique (we like to think of loving grandmothers as infallible creatures). But her influence on the current storyline didn't seem very necessary.

Also, and this may just be because of my age, it bothered me that these kids were so unrealistic. I probably found that charming in the first book, but this time around I kept thinking "they drink too much coffee, they hardly ever sleep, they cuddle naked without having sex, none of the food they pack on this trip ever goes bad, they have some terrible instincts, and they're horrid to one another......why do I care?" Luke and Sunshine are still pointless, and mean. River is still a liar and a villain, even though Violet is still attracted to him and pines about "last summer", which was apparently three months ago but always referred to as "last summer". Neely is the only decent character in the entire book, but even he isn't very interesting.

So overall, I was underwhelmed. And I have the sneaking suspicion that if I read the first book again, I'd be underwhelmed by it, too. The writing is a bit purple, which can be enjoyable as a poetic experience, but the characters, the tension, and the mystery fell flat for me.

a
AnonHipLib
Sep 25, 2014

Lovely progression from the first book in the series. The darkness continues but the characters take it on an adventure to search for the missing "Evil" Redding brothers. Violet is torn in her loyalties and new characters join the story to add elements of mystery and complexity. Great Read!

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