Tuesday, June 5, 2012

ARC Review: RED HEART TATTOO

The Book: RED HEART TATTOO
The Author: Lurlene McDaniel
The Publisher: Delacorte BFYR (an Imprint of Random House Children's Books)
Anticipated Release Date: July 24, 2012

Marketing Copy Summary:
At 7:45 a.m. on the day before Thanksgiving break, a bomb goes off at Edison High. Nine people die instantly. Fifteen are critically injured. Twenty-two suffer less severe injuries. And one is blinded. Those who survive, struggle to cope with the loss and destruction. All must find new meaning for their lives as a result of something they may never understand.

My Thoughts:
I find myself on the fence about this book.  The idea is something that could happen today, which is sad, but I also felt like it's something that's been done before.  While reading this book, I couldn't help but think of Columbine, as this had so many, haunting similarities regarding the kids who planned the bombing in TATTOO.  I kind of think that the author intended the reader to compare the two, as anyone who remembers that said day in American history will inevitably make that comparison, IMO.

The beginning really pulled me in.  From the prologue where the minutes before the bomb exploded are sketched out for the reader, the short scene ending in the body/injury count, I was hooked, unable to put the book down.  The first part of the book gave the reader a vision of what life was like for the students Edison High.  There's Morgan and Trent, the It couple, the most popular of the popular.  There's Roth, a loner with a bad boy past, but who is working hard to prove to his uncle and himself that he's not completely worthless.  There's the two punks who plan the bomb, who like to call themselves Apocalypse and Executioner.  We see high school life from so many different angles as the day of destruction moves closer and closer.

And, even the first chapters after the bombing, as everyone is searching for answers, and dealing with the overwhelming fear and grief that growas out of such an attack.  Those chapters killed me.

My problem lies in the after, aftermath.  It felt so passive, so detatached.  I mean, Roth is expectedly the main suspect in the bombings.  The police look long and hard at him.  And for much of the last part of the book, he remains the only suspect.  Then, when they finally catch the to ones responsible, it's glossed over, the reader only finding out as Roth hears about it from his lawyer.  Kind of anticlimatic there.

Then, there's Morgan.  I hate to say it, but in the aftermath, I just didn't identify with her like I did in the before part.  It just felt unreal to me how easily she coped with her blindness.  Even though everyone assured her that it was only temporary, I still feel like she took the whole being unable to see thing a whole lot better than most mature adults would.

Finally, there was the ending ending.  I usually love epilogues, but this one left me wanting more.  It just felt meandering with no real purpose other than to say, "Oh, in case you didn't realize this, I'll spell it all out for you"  FYI: I picked up on the little "twist", so I'm fairly certain any other reader would, too.  So, it felt like a waste of my time, when what I really would've liked was some kind of "Ten years later" kind of thing, like the school having some kind of memorial service or something.

Maybe, I'm being too hard.  Maybe, I just had higher expectations, but I closed this book feeling like it never really finished so much as faded away.