May 26, 2015

...In Which Life Gets in the Way

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Five months into 2015 and it's official: I royally flunked.
I've been debating with myself if I should write this post and sound whiny, or grind my teeth and pretend everything was cool. My decision was made when I realised two weeks had passed since my latest post, which pretty much makes you dead in the blogging universe. Now, from Day 1, I've always refused to adhere to stupid rules and turn blogging into a chore. On the other hand, with my followers and readers base, it's not like I can go M.I.A. for weeks and expect to gain more of them, or to become an established blogger. So I decided I owed such followers and readers - not to mention new visitors - an explanation, at the very least.
My goal for this year was to produce an average of a post per week - which I did last year. And which should have been so simple to accomplish. Until it wasn't.

May 12, 2015

Deborah Lynn Jacobs: "Choices"

Title: Choice [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Deborah Lynn Jacobs [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Multiverse
Year: 2007
Age: 12+
Stars: 2/5
Pros: Sibling love. A convincing explanation of multiple realities.
Cons: Some of the realities feel forced. The ending is not consistent with the premise, and the lead's final choice makes no sense.
WARNING! Drug smoking. A drinking parent.
Will appeal to: Those who like to wonder "what if..." and don't care much for plausibility.

Blurb: A teenage girl consumed by guilt over her brother's death tries to find a universe in which he is still alive. Choices begins in one dimension, then fractures into four distinct voices with every decision Kathleen/Kay/Kate/Kathy makes. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: This is a though one to review without being too spoilery, but I'll try...
I was originally drawn to Choices for two reasons: 1) the multiverse concept and 2) the apparently original premise...a guilt-consumed girl who would go to any length to have her big brother back. I'm intrigued by alternate-universes theories, and I thought it was refreshing to have a teen who was driven by sibling love instead of romantic/lustful one. Multiverse I did get - though it presented some issues that I'll address later - but as for the rest...I closed the book feeling cheated.
17 y.o. Kathleen has just lost her older brother Nick due to an accident she feels responsible for, because Nick was coming to pick her at a party where she didn't really want to go in the first place, and because she never learned to drive. Also, unlike most girls her age, Kathleen was very close to her big brother, which adds to her pain. Nick's death triggers a peculiar chain of events - or better, a series of them - Kathleen doesn't know what to make of at first: there are specific splitting points where she makes a decision instead of another and this causes equally specific consequences...The real catch is, Kathleen finds herself shifting among the different realities her choices and not-choices create, retaining a double memory after every split. Of course, Kathleen thinks she's losing it, and fast. It's Luke, a slightly older boy and fellow shifter she met at Nick's funeral, who finally helps her understand what's going on. I'm not a physics expert, but Luke's explanation of the shifts seems fine to me, and actually makes sense. Or I want it to make sense because I'm fascinated by characters who live different lives, so if there's a plausible way for them to, I'm more than happy :). (Not sure what Stephen Hawkins would have to say about Luke's theory, but still). Well, so, the multiverse part started strong to me. And Kathleen - in all her different versions - is a relatable enough character, though not particularly memorable. So what about the 2 stars? Here goes... [...]