Every Badly Written YA Novel Is Forgettable In Their Own Way
Revisado en los Estados Unidos el 5 de mayo de 2020
Every Well Written YA Novel Is Memorable, While Every Badly Written YA Novel Is Forgettable In Their Own Way.
Anna K is said to be Crazy Rich Asians meets Gossip Girl. It's been praised as being "fresh," "wickedly smart", "compelling", and "engrossing". The authors and reviewers who wrote this blurbs were clearly reading a different novel. While this was a fast paced read (I finished it in roughly four hours, over two days) it was not compelling or smart. It wasn't fresh. Aside from the fact that a bunch of 15-19 year olds were spending money like water - it wasn't really like CRA or GG, either.
Anna K tells the story of Anna K., a seventeen year old, half-Korean It girl. She's beautiful, intelligent, loves her horses and dogs, and has her life planned out. She'll go to Harvard or Yale and later marry her boyfriend, nineteen year old Alexander - whom she's been dating since she was fourteen. Alexander will go into politics and become president and Anna will be the loving wife, who raises show dogs. And then, Anna K's life changes.
Anna's older brother, Steven (18) calls Anna to come into the city (Anna lives at the family's Greenwich home to attend school) to help him with his girl trouble - he's been found to be cheating on his girlfriend, Lolly. While at the train station, Anna briefly meets Alexia aka Vronsky aka Count, a sixteen year old "bad boy". The two, Anna and Alexia, are completely drawn to one another. It's a love at first sight kind of thing. But, Anna is still with Alexander. And Vronsky is known for having several sex partners at once - one of which just happens to be fifteen year old Kimmie. Kimmie is Lolly's younger sister, an ex-figure skater recovering from a career ending injury. Kimmie sees herself as badly in love with Vronsky. While Kimmie is the object of affection for Steven's tutor/childhood friend, eighteen year old Dustin. Vronsky's party girl cousin, Bea and Alexander's spoiled half-sister, Eleanor, more or less round out the cast.
- It took me a while to figure out what I was feeling with this novel. I was reading it and something just felt...off. After a while, I figured it out - it's the way the novel is written. So many things - character feelings, long scenes that should have been written out, plot points - are told to use instead of shown. It's all written in a very mechanical way, as well.
- This book takes place in late 2019/early 2020. I know this, because Jenny Lee tells us. She also feels her pages with pop culture references, slang, and text speak. It does make me wonder what people who read this in, say 2029, will think of all the references that they may or may not understand.
- Anna and Vronsky did not have a very compelling love story. They met and there is an attraction. They have a few interactions throughout the novel, and, for me, it is very clear that Vronsky is smitten with Anna. Anna - well, Vronsky could have been any good looking high schoolboy. She just need a push to leave her comfortable and predictable life.
- Most of these characters are unlikable. They are selfish, shallow, and even cruel. They had no depth to them, and I found that I could root for no one. Though, I'm going to be fair: Alexander and Eleanor were both very conservative and self righteous. Eleanor even used her religion as a weapon. But, Jenny Lee tries to have us believe that these two siblings are the WORST people EVER. And, they're not? I would not want to be friends with Eleanor, as she is spoiled and judges everyone, but she's also fifteen and clearly needs to be exposed to more people. And, Alexander may be a fifty year old man trapped in a nineteen year old's body, but he isn't a horrible person. He's no worse than the other male characters - Steven who cheats on his girlfriend or Vronsky who uses women like tissue.
- The incest hints were a bit much. Bea makes a reference to having thought about sleeping with Vronsky. Vronsky describes how his "first sexual experience" was spending a summer, hiding in the closet, and watching his older brother have sex with their father's maids and girlfriend. Several characters make reference to the the fact that Eleanor maybe in love with Alexander, her half-brother. It's meant to be a joke, but Eleanor is certainly written like she's never gotten over that "older brother worship" that some girls develop.
-There are some really racist things done or said by character or the author. References that really lean into stereotypes - Native Americans and Koreans are the hardest hit.
-The grammar and spelling mistakes! Jenny Lee needs a new proofreader and/or editor. So many missing comas, so many misused words. (At one point there is a sentence that says: "Anna always took care of his things") Proofread!
-I want to go back to the writing style, because I cannot get over it. So. Much. Telling. Whole scenes that should be written or just explained. It reads a bit like a script outline, and that may be because Jenny Lee has done some tv writing. I hear the novel has been bought by HBO Max for a tv adaption. (Remember when they were discussing a Gossip Girl reboot?) Honestly, it makes me wonder why Jenny Lee just didn't write this as a pilot script?
- It's a really fast read.
-I believe there could be some good things in there (Kimmie's depression and her struggle to figure out who she is without skating; Dustin's identity and mental health issues; Lolly's self-esteem issues, as she isn't "natural pretty, but rich girl pretty; Steven's identity crisis as the only son of a Korean father and his own self-esteem issues; Anna's struggle with her 'perfect image'; Alexander's hinted abuse of Adderall) could make for a REALLY INTERESTING STORY - in the hands of a more capable writer or in another format.
- I would not recommend this novel to anyone. But, I may check out the series on HBO Max in 2021-2022 - if I remember it.
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