Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook

Title: Every Last Promise
Author: Kristin Halbrook
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: 21 April, 2015
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Gayle Forman, Every Last Promise is a provocative and emotional novel about a girl who must decide between keeping quiet and speaking up after witnessing a classmate's sexual assault.

Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn't supposed to. But she hasn't told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night--about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.

Now Kayla's coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything--and everyone--she ever cared about.
Review by Nara

A warning to those who are going to read the book: don't read the blurb. It basically gives away the entire plot, or at least gives enough away that it's easy to guess the rest of the plot. Seriously, why do publishers do this? It's so irritating when a blurb gives away everything. One of the reasons why I tend not to read them, in any case.

Every Last Promise is definitely not one of the best contemporary novels I have read. The reason for this lies in all aspects of the book: pacing, characters, plot, writing- none of these were anything spectacular, and I feel like in general, the book just wasn't that engaging.

The pacing is on the slow side, with there being chapters set in the present and chapters set in the past (set at the party), i.e. before and after the "event" that main character Kayla must keep a secret, or "risk losing everything". I felt like the alternation of the timelines wasn't done that well, in terms of how you'd only just start to get interested in one of the timelines before you're whisked away to the other.

Pretty much all of the characters were either unlikeable or average. Kayla especially wasn't someone I really empathised with, or wanted to be, or admired, or even liked. But I can't deny that she's realistic. She was weak-willed and foolish- but she was definitely a character who, for example, could have been someone at my high school. Not every character can be as strong as Katniss, or as badass as Celaena, after all.

Despite the book being quite realistic, to be frank, it just wasn't something that interested me enough. Yes, it tackles serious issues, yes, it's somewhat emotional, but I wasn't really invested enough in it to feel anything myself. Overall, it was just very average.

It was okay
Overall: 4/10
Plot: 2.5/5
Romance: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Cover: 1/5

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