April 24, 2015

Review: Split Second by Kasie West

I thought I wanted these memories, but now I realize he hardly knows me.

The Book Rest - Book Review - Split Second by Kasie WestTitle: Split Second (Pivot Point #2)
Author:Kasie West
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
Rating: B-
Recommended For: Fans of teen YA, especially if you want to bridge the gap between contemporary and fantasy. This series is the perfect segue.
Source: Library e-book

One-sentence review: While the story of how Addie and Laila resolve the chaos wrought from Pivot Point is adventurous, exciting and unpredictable, the writing is so obviously "teen" that I couldn't get beyond it to consider this a solid, recommendable book to just anyone.

TBR It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon

This review contains spoilers for Pivot Point, the first book in this series

I had a love-hate relationship with Kasie West's Pivot Point that mostly ended with love. Although it's still no big surprise that I continued my love-hate with the sequel, Split Second. I also began my experience deflated because I read this book a few months after finishing the prequel so I had forgotten so many details from the original that were not refreshed by the author. Never have I read a sequel with so few reminders of what happened previously, especially considering how much happened! After I was already halfway through the book I saw a Goodreads review from Book Blog Bake recommending to read the last few chapters of Pivot Point to refresh and I highly recommend that!

This novel basically starts soon after the last novel ended: living in a supernatural Compound in contemporary middle America, Addie has the ability to view 2 alternate realities when she's faced with a choice. Her best friend, Laila, has the ability to erase memories. In Pivot Point, Addie asked Laila to erase her memory of the alternate ending she didn't choose because she wants Laila to restore them a few weeks later. What unravels is Addie's attempt to restore the love story of her previous fate while making some difficult discoveries about the Compound from which she's from. 

Hands down, my biggest issue with this series is the writing. It felt so teen to me that I can't decide if the author is excellent at writing in the voice of 16/17-year olds, or not a good writer at all. Regardless, the voice distracted from my experience and I can't give West credit for bridging the gap of teen and adult literature like so many other YA authors I love. There was just something I have to describe as "cheesy" about the writing and while the content was not bad at all, the delivery made me feel awkward. 

My biggest gripe with the storyline is that it feels like there are two arcs: the action leading up to Addie's memory restoration (come on, it's not a spoiler, you knew it would happen!) and everything that happens after. I felt like the memory restoration part was really anti-climactic because, duh, they have to accomplish this- it's the reason we're reading! However, I will give this one to the teens; perhaps a 14-year old reader wouldn't see this coming. I acknowledge that I can't pick on this book for its intended audience too much.

Other than that, the story and the action are really exciting and unpredictable. At first I didn't think I wanted or needed to hear Laila's perspective; she kind of annoyed me in the first book. But the romantic element West gives to her experience definitely showed off her character growth and gave me more empathy for her experience. Similarly, I had all kinds of feelings about Addie trying to recreate her relationship with Trevor and it was so sad to see how difficult it was to make it happen organically like the first time. 

I think the story could have used some editing but overall the action kept me reading despite the overly teen narrative voices. Although I must admit, I wanted to throw the book with those stupid text messages that were at the beginning of every chapter to remind the reader of who was narrating that chapter. THEY WERE SO STUPID. Again, maybe I should stop reading teen books. I don't think I should, but I'll probably step away from Kasie West's. While I definitely think this author can resonate strongly with other readers, unfortunately it's not me.

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