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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review: Mad Love

Mad Love (ARC) by Suzanne Selfors
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: January 4th, 2010
Pages: 336
Age Level: 13+
For Review from Author

Synopsis via Goodreads
When you're the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness. After putting on a brave front for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue, and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs a story for her mother—and she needs one fast.

That's when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol's voice in her head and see things she can't explain, she must face the truth—that she's either inherited her mother's madness, or Errol is for real.

Mad Love is a quirky, fun, and unique story. While I don't think I liked it as much as Selfors' previous YA novels, Saving Juliet and Coffeehouse Angel, I still found it enjoyable.

Though I had a couple of issues with Alice, she turned out to be a realistic and well-developed heroine. One problem I had with her was how dense she was when it came to realizing the solution to her and her mother's predicament. I often found myself wanting to slap her upside the head. However, I was glad to see that it took Alice a while before believing and trusting Errol. I find that some protagonists are often too quick to go along with whatever characters, like Errol, have to say. At times, I thought Alice could be a bit harsh and impulsive, yet these flaws seemed to make her a more well rounded character. Her love for her mother was very evident in how hard she tried to do what she could to help her which I thought a very admirable quality. To start with, I found it a little difficult to connect with her in general, but one thing I was easily able to relate to were some of her feelings and worries concerning her mother as Bipolar disorder runs in my family, with more than one family member having it. As for Errol, well I found that I actually loved his character as he was just so different from any other character I've encountered. He was very dynamic, starting out as this kind of creepy, good-looking guy who turned out to be someone going through a very hard time with an amazing story to tell. Mad Love also had some great supporting characters. Realm, for example, was quite surprising. She really could be a bitch sometimes but she was also very misunderstood and I loved seeing how far along she'd come by the end of the story. Tony, though I didn't connect with him quite as much as with Errol, was a nice, charming romantic interest for Alice. Mrs. Bobot, Reverend Ruttles, and Archibald were also among some of the lovable characters that really added to the story.

In the beginning, I found myself having trouble getting into Mad Love. I honestly still haven't figured out why, though, which leads me to believe that this could have had more to do with me than the book itself. That being said, once I got about half through, I found myself very involved in the story. Though predominately a contemporary novel, Selfors still managed to intertwine just the right amount of magic into it. Now I thought the clam-juice-curing-love-sickness thing was a bit too silly but I did get used to it. Errol's story was expertly imagined and plotted out as well as a very unique twist on the story of Cupid. Selfors gradually revealed details of Errol's life bit by bit throughout the novel, waiting until the end before allowing everything to be known; this kept me both curious and captivated, anxiously wanting to find out more.

The writing, for me, was a little above average. I didn't really find anything wrong with it, but at the same time, not much really stuck out as being great either. It was, however, very descriptive and I thought Selfors set the scene quite vividly. The writing was also consistent so as to avoid slow patches that can seem to drag along.

I absolutely loved the ending that Selfors gave Mad Love. I was, admittedly, expecting something happy-dappy and instead I got this lovely, bittersweet ending that pulled everything together perfectly. The excerpt from Death Cat and the disclaimer from Craig's Clam Juice that were tacked on after the end were great additions. I also really enjoyed getting to read the author notes from Selfors.

I'll end this review by saying that Valentine's Day is just around the corner and if you are like me and your Valentine's Day date is going to be a book, then I would definitely suggest you pick up Mad Love and curl up with Cupid for the day. This was a good, light read and is an ideal choice for just kicking back and relaxing with. I will most likely read it again in the future and I can't wait for Suzanne Selfors to come out with another book.

Characters: B
Writing: C+
Plot: B
Ending: A-
Enjoyment/Likability: C+
Recommendable: B-

Overall: B-

Cover: C+


Amelia said...

Hey Briana! I loved your review, mainly because I finished this a few days ago and am trying to figure out what to say. I liked it, but it wasn't really for me, but I got the feeling that I *should* have liked it, you know? So I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts! They've helped me figure out how to write mine :D

Liddy said...

I really like this cover for some reason, it's like alice in wonderland.. kinda...!!
Loved the review, I can't wait to pick this one up!
Perhaps, if you have time, would you mind stopping by my blog?

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Georgia, United States
Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

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