Thursday, May 28, 2015

Emancipated by M.G. Reyes

Emancipated by M.G. Reyes
Release Date - May 26, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 400 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The good girl, the bad boy, the diva, the hustler, the rock star, and the nerd. Six teens legally liberated from parental control for six different reasons, all with one thing in common: something to hide.

Now they’re sharing a house in Venice Beach, acting like a family, and living their lies. No parents. No limits. No alibis. One witnessed a crime, another might be a murderer—and one’s been spying on them all.

As they cling to a fantasy of freedom and slowly let down their guards, the past creeps up on them. And when one of them gets arrested, everyone’s carefully constructed facade comes crumbling down.

In this steamy, drama-filled series, relationships are tested and secrets revealed as lies threaten to destroy their perfect setup. 
The premise of Emancipated immediately caught my eye. A group of teens with no rules, some secrets and lies, all combined with what seemed to be a delicious mystery. This ended up be a plot driven novel that favoured that over characters.

There is a distance that is kept between the reader and the characters, at least for me. I never fully connected with them, or felt I got to know them beyond some surface labels (the good girl, the nerd, etc). They became clichés of those character tropes, and I never saw them as fully developed characters. They seem to be purely written as their label descriptor.

The choice of narration did not assist in getting to know the characters either. The use of third person was needed to keep some of the secrets being held as secrets. The secrets and when they were revealed as chosen over a first person narration which may have helped with character connection, at least in this case. While the novel technically changes points of view, the narration remains the same. There are no changes to differentiate between the characters which again lead to the disconnection I felt.

The mystery itself is promising. There is a fun, soapy story within these pages. The allure of this story is unravelling mystery and that is done rather well. There are hidden connections, hidden truths, and someone pulling the strings behind it all. The novel, if not a series, ends rather abruptly, and without all the answers If anything were to pull me back in, it would be this element of the story. It's a well paced, well developed mystery, but it's done at the cost of other story elements.

This novel is really about the cost of growing up too quickly. The ages of these characters mean that they are not prepared for the reality of what they enter into when they become emancipated. It's a stark wake up call, and one that each of the characters struggle with in various ways. We see the aftermath of their choices, and this is another plot point that is done rather well. It's something that I wished had been focused on more along with tightening up the characterization.

A novel that didn't quite reach my expectations. There are elements that I enjoyed but the execution was lacking something to turn the story into something much deeper. A lack of connection with the characters distracted from the mystery which lead to an overall disconnect with the story. Some will enjoy this story more than I did, perhaps those looking for a more plot driven story.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this review, for taking the time to put so much thought into your analysis, too. You've nailed the point of this series: "This novel is really about the cost of growing up too quickly", an insight that I haven't seen in most other reviews.
    I also appreciate that you were hoping for a more literary, character-based story, and that's fine. It's for the reader to take whatever they want from a reading. However, I will say this: like F Scott Fitzgerald, I'm on the 'character is plot, plot is character' side of this particular argument...and this is a story plotted over three books. You've seen two cards in this poker hand. Book 2 reveals two more...and the last one in the final episode. *evil author cackle*
    The narration style won't change, however - that's a stylistic choice and you're quite right, it doesn't suit everyone.
    Thanks again and good luck with your blog!


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