Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review: 4 to 16 Characters by Kelly Hourihan

Released: November 7, 2013
Publisher: Lemon Sherbert Press
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 3 out of 5
Source: Netgalley
Edition: Netgalley ARC
Page Amount: 314
Age Group: Young Adult

Fifteen-year-old Jane Shilling’s best friends don’t know her real name. In fact, they don’t know anything about her at all. Jane’s life has collapsed in the last few years; following the death of her mother, her father turned to drinking, and Jane is reeling from the double blow. To escape, Jane devises a number of online personas, each with a distinct personality, life history, and set of friends. But things become trickier when she finds herself drawing close to some of her online friends, and winds up struggling with the question of how to maintain a real friendship while masquerading as a fake person. With the help of Gary, a socially awkward classmate and competitive Skeeball player who is Jane’s only offline friend, and Nora, her therapist, Jane begins to sift through her issues. The only catch is that that involves taking a long, hard look at what her life’s like when the computer is shut off, and that’s a reality she’s been fighting for years.

One of the main reasons I picked this book up from Netgalley is because it was one that you could automatically load right onto your Kindle and I wanted a cute, contemporary books to balance out all of the paranormal/fantasy books I have been reading lately. Then upon reading the synopsis  I was hooked. Even before reading the first page, I connected with Jane with our love for pop culture. I, too, am guilty for 'fangirling' over certain television shows, bands, and celebrities. I knew this was a book I wanted to read because I somewhat connected with the story line (minus the fake persona).

I did not enjoy this novel as much as I thought I would. I went into this novel thinking that I was going to love it and this was going to become one of my favourite contemporary books of all time. To be fair, I probably should not have gone into this book with that impression. 

This book could have knocked about one hundred pages of story and it would have, in my opinion, been better. While I was reading, I found myself thinking 'this is unnecessary , 'this is pointless', and 'didn't we talk about this three pages ago?'.  Also, the characters would constantly be like 'you still there?? omg you left me' thirty seconds after sending their previous IM message. I mean, really? 

I didn't enjoy Jane as a main character.  She was very one dimensional, in my opinion. I think this has something to do with we explored Rachel's character more than Jane's, so I never really felt a connection with her at all. Gary was character I had a soft spot for, though. He was quirky and cute. He was always there for Jane, even when she pushed him away numerous times through the book. He was loyal and I really enjoyed that about him. 

I do believe this novel was enjoyable, despite the little problems that I had with it. I enjoyed reading it and if you're looking for a cute Young Adult novel that teens can relate to, I do recommend this one.

About the Author

Kelly Hourihan is an author of YA novels. In 2004, she graduated from Harvard with an A.B. in English. She’s been trying to strike a balance between writing and “jobs that pay the rent” since then. In 2009, she was selected as the Children’s Writer in Residence at the Boston Public Library. Kelly lives in Boston with her wife and two cats.  

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the honest review. This book doesn't seem to be as strong as the book blurb suggests from the reviews I have been reading.