Lovetorn (ARC) by Kavita Daswani
Pub. Date: January 17th, 2011
Age Level: 12+
Source: For review from publisher.
Synopsis via Goodreads
When Shalini’s father gets a new job in L.A., she is torn away from her life in India and the boy to whom she’s been betrothed since she was three. L.A. is so different, and Shalini dresses and talks all wrong. She isn’t sure she’ll survive high school in America without her fiancé, Vikram, and now she has to cope with her mom’s homesickness and depression. A new friend, chill and confident Renuka, helps Shalini find her way and get up the courage to join the Food4Life club at school. But she gets more than just a friend when she meets Toby—she gets a major crush. Shalini thinks she loves Vikram, but he never made her feel like this.
In Lovetorn, Shalini discovers that your heart ultimately makes its own choices, even when it seems as if your destiny has already been chosen.
Author Kavita Daswani has always been fascinated by child marriages and betrothals, and this story of a traditional girl from India, who is exposed to so many more freedoms and experiences after being dropped in a completely alien culture, is a fresh and contemporary look at the subject.
Lovetorn is one of those books that I had really looked forward to, seeing it as a book with momentous potential to be something truly noteworthy and lasting. Gosh, I hate when I'm wrong. For me, this book could have been just so much more than it was and instead of leaving me in a deep state of mindfulness, it left me indifferent and disappointed.
Unfortunately I don't have much to say about the characters because I didn't particularly feel anything for them, good or bad. I just felt as though they were two dimensional and under developed. I think Shalini's parents were possibly the most intriguing characters and I wouldn't have minded hearing more from them. Especially the mom, who's role in the book was one of the few things that actually made me feel anything. Even Shalini, the main character, I felt completely detached from and my closest sense of connection I ever had with her was when she had her eyebrows threaded. While not excruciating, she's right, it does kinda hurt. I tried it one time just for kicks and quickly decided I was happy with my eyebrows just how they were. It isn't that any of the characters were flat out bad, just flat; I could not seem to bond with them on any level. What really bugged me was the fact that Toby, the guy Shalini starts to have feelings for, doesn't even come into the story til over half way through the book. The already short, 256 page book. Also, I didn't find the whole thing between Toby and Shalini believable. He starts out acknowledging her in what seems a polite and friendly way, nothing more, and then BAM!, he's suddenly into her as well. While Vikram wasn't in it much I think part of me almost liked him a little bit better. At least with him there was 13 years of history.
In theory, I loved the plot line. An Indian girl betrothed to a guy for 13 years ends up moving to America where she goes into serious culture shock, with varying effects on each member of her family. There was so much potential there and I really thought I was going to love this book. However the book takes place over the course of an entire year. I felt like so much that happened in her life that could have really helped improve this story was skipped in a hurried attempt to cover so much ground. There were only glimpses of interaction between Shalini and the other characters and the plot sometimes seemed a bit...unfocused somehow. Like the author was paying too much attention to all the wrong things, or at least not enough attention to the right things. In truth, I didn't go completely un-entertained and there were a few moments when I thought that things could get better from here, and yet, I can't remember which moments those were, merely that I did feel they were there.
The writing was...well it just was. I can't remember there being anything particularly off or poorly done about it, but I can't really think of anything great either. Decent would probably be a good word. I really don't think there is much more I could say about it other than the fact that it seemed overly internal.
Towards the end, I saw the characters finally starting to come into their own, developing more solid personalities, and the plot started coming into a clearer focus, finally pulling together to create something I felt I could begin to enjoy. But that is the problem, it was towards the end. Just when things started looking like they may be getting good it was all over, leaving me empty and dissatisfied.
In the end, Lovetorn could have been so poignant, so beautiful and thought-provoking, but the only thing it left me thinking about was what I'd read next. By no means would I say I hated this book, or even call it bad; it was just...okay. Honestly, should the author right another book I might would even read it because there was something, I'm not sure what, but something that has me thinking that she really is a good writer. I just wasn't able to feel the heart and soul that she more than likely poured into Lovetorn. So would I recommend this based on how I felt about it? Not really. But if you think it sounds good and you want to give it a shot, most people seem to have liked it pretty well. I'd just suggest borrowing it instead of spending the money to buy it.
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Friday, January 6, 2012
Lovetorn (ARC) by Kavita Daswani
Posted by ~The Book Pixie at 1/06/2012 08:35:00 AM