Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rage: A Love Story-- Julie Anne Peters

So there I was in my office, opening my big stack of mail and low and behold, a big stack of ARCs (Advance Reading Copies of books... you know the sneak peaks of books librarians sometimes get) had arrived! AND ever better, there was a book by one of my favorite YA authors, Julie Anne Peters! I audibly yelped for joy and then proceeded to read the book cover to cover on an airplane over the weekend... but remember folks, just because a book is a page-turner doesn't mean it's amazing...

Johanna is a smart, responsible girl. She took care of her mother when she was sick and dying, she constantly watches out for her party-girl best friend, works hard for good grades and pocket money, and hopes to go to college and get on with her life. Honestly, she's pretty vanilla-bland-whitebread, except for her secret fantasies about Reeve Hartt.

Reeve is fierce, uglybeautiful, violent, passionate, and basically the opposite of Johanna. When Johanna gets conned into tutoring Reeve's brother, Johanna pursues Reeve until she just can't say no any longer. Their relationship is tumultuous to say the least, and full of challenges due to Reeve's abysmal home life and violent, erratic behavior. Don't expect a picture perfect happy ending (who would, with a title like Rage: a love story?), but the book does resolve itself in an acceptable way.

So what's my problem with this book? I just didn't love it. I feel like Peters is starting to rely on some old familiar tricks. I saw a lot of similarities between this book and Define Normal (the tutoring, the alternative chick, the "normal" chick etc) and also Far From Xanadu (the wild amazing pixie girl love interest). Also, although the story is narrated by Johanna, I couldn't get a good mental picture of who she was. I did, however, feel very intrigued by Reeve's story and would have preferred to hear about it from her perspective. Am I let down because I have too high of standards for this particular author (I *loved* Far From Xanadu), or was the book just not that great?

I would offer this book to teens who want books with gay characters (that isn't a coming out story), less than perfect love stories, or books about screwed up families.

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