When the Pasta Method Fails - Book Review of An Unstill Life - Reading List

When the Pasta Method Fails - Book Review of An Unstill Life

Monday, October 30, 2017

Book Review An Unstill Life by Kate Larkindale on Reading List

Growing up, I remember being told that we should try all the things.

"Throw the entire pot of pasta on the wall and see what sticks," was the loving encouragement of my grandmother - I'm sure there was more to that but that's the only bit that remains in my mind.

The basic idea was to try all the sports, play all the instruments, write down all the ideas and then figure out which one or two really worked.

And when it comes to trying, writing drafts, or exploring, this is probably great advice.  But the whole point of editing is important... the narrowing it down and perfecting something small. And often times the process of paring away can be painful, which is why it is so essential to have a good support team - or a strong editorial team.

Unfortunately, this book needed a little more in the paring and pruning department...

Book Review An Unstill Life by Kate Larkindale on Reading List

An Unstill Life

Kate Larkindale

Story Overview 

Livvie, a high school student, sees the world differently thanks to synesthesia which drive her to spend more time drawing what she sees into marvelous works of art. So when life takes a dramatic turn down a path she only thought of in her nightmares she can't cope.  One horrible life moment smacks Livvie in the face day after day, leaving her wishing for a safe haven.

But will she find one, or will life strip away every little shred of home she thought she had?

Personal Likes

I enjoyed the beginning of the book - the set up for Livvie was interesting. She seemed like the kind of kid everyone knew in high school - got dealt a bad hand in life, but kept pushing through. Tends to be standing off by herself, but has friends too...

I even thought the tattoo scene at the opening was fun.  Seemed real enough... could tell it was setting up a bigger plot but still high school.

I was mostly interested in the details surrounding the synesthesia - I remembered it from my college courses, and wanted to see it in a story.  I wish it had been more of focus, and more deeply described through the entire book.

Book Review An Unstill Life by Kate Larkindale on Reading List

Personal Dislikes

There was too much in this book. Literally every hot button topic for teens, and parents of teens, comes up in this book. Its just thrown in... lack of self-confidence, issues with trust and friendship, unsure how to communicate actual feelings, possible rape, bullying, body-weight issues, gender issues, sexual orientation questions... and add in cancer, assisted suicide, and a depressed mother along with it.

As a result my brain couldn't focus on one point, and the whole story flopped.

Reading List Rating

Heart image of rating
I can only give this book two hearts, and I'm said to say that.  I wanted this to focused.  There is such potential in the idea of a high school girl with synesthesia, yet every little current issue muddied the water. 

My Suggested Audience

I have no idea who I would recommend this book to.  I'm not sure I can recommend it - and that might be a first for me.  I can usually say my hang ups over a book stem from a lack of disconnect, but that others could probably connect better. But to be honest, this book is just a mess.

That being said, I do think the author has potential. In this world of Amazon epublishing, so many writers are rushing to get books out, to compete. And the time spent to perfect is being pushed aside to get a finished product. Mostly, the time spent with an agent, an editing team, and doing the painful work of really editing and reworking a plot gets shortened. And I'm not sure how to fix that. But this book needed more time in the editing department, because it had amazing potential.

One quick word... there are so many trigger scenes in this for so many emotional and physical abuse, that if you might have any concern, maybe steer away. Feel free to ask me question if you want clarification on that. I did read this entire book as I wanted to find a reason to love it. 

Wondering Questions to Consider

I'm going to get right to it here... if you made it this far on this post thank you... but be prepared for a minor spoiler, to the actual point of conflict for the MC - assisted suicide is a serious topic.  It is uncomfortable to talk about because to discuss you have to discuss the importance of life. And how do you do so without looking to the origin of life... These are big points. And if you don't know where life comes from, or who decided that life was worth creating, then these are impossible to answer. But teens are in questioning mode, whether they share that with their parents or not (adults are in questioning mode too most days... but that's another point.)  While this book has it's hang up, the launch point for an assisted suicide heart-to-heart this book can provide...

Book Review An Unstill Life by Kate Larkindale on Reading List

What are your feelings over books that are too full of every little topic? Do you like them? Would you rather a book that touched on just one or two and really expanded?  Where does real life need to be the focus of a contemporary novel, and where can fiction spread out an event to help clarify the emotions and feelings of life?

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!

Marissa @ Reading List

**If you are considering purchasing this book, please consider using the affiliate link here - it doesn't cost you anything extra, and it would simply make my day!!  In fact, just click through and do your shopping, even if you decide not to get this particular book. TIA

***If you're interested in writing a book review on Reading List, please message me on the Facebook page! If you're curious about a book, ask me...  I love to hear from you! If you would like your book reviewed on Reading List, email me: the link is at the bottom of this page.

**** Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, through YA Bound Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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