It's been a long, long time since I last wrote about a new novel - or wrote much of anything original. Life has definitely changed for me in many ways, changing how and where I devote my time.
But... whaddya know? I managed to finally finish a book!
Gardenia is a YA genre mash of murder mystery with a dash of sci-fi/fantasy, written by author Kelsey Sutton.
When Ivy's best friend died, it wasn't a surprise to her.
Because, ever since she was little, Ivy has seen the numbers over everyone's heads. Their countdown, if you will.
But she didn't know the cause of her best friend's death would be... murder.
Labled as a bit of an outcast, due to her odd behavior and reaction to Vanessa's death, Ivy finds herself more alone than ever as she is determined to find her friend's killer.
And she doesn't have much time, herself... as she's known her whole life.
Now, she realizes, it may be that she may give up her life to catch the murderer...
This story starts with a fairly original, interesting and intriguing concept. Initially, I admit, it sounds very teen horror movie flick in its synopsis. I *loved* murder mysteries as a young teen myself and found the vibe a bit nostalgic, to be honest. Brought me back to my Joan Lowery Nixon days, hehe.
Gooooooood memories. Golly, am I really getting that old? *La Sigh*
Anywho, it was this weird 24-like countdown on top of everybody's heads that *really* got me curious. It seemed like an odd combo, and there's almost nothing that I like to try more than things that seem a little offbeat and quirky.
As it started out, I was primarily quite impressed with the excellent use of adjectives, supporting the atmosphere of the scenes presented - whether it be the environment or the emotions of characters. Wonderful word usage.
Yet another success was how Sutton makes Ivy very sympathetic as a character, very quickly. It's not a long novel - and it presents itself as this speed sleuthing plot - so it needs to establish our connection to the heroine swiftly.
With just a little recollection of how she realized her ability for the readers benefit and the way she visits the nursing homes to make a positive impact on those who are soon to leave the world, she is easily a likable person. Especially because she is not at all self-pitying or downtrodden, she is trying to do something good with the time she has. That is admirable.
Gardenia turns more suspenseful as an early murder creates the tone of a serial killer, and it did indeed grab my attention quite thoroughly before even the second chapter ended. And then as it delved more into the teen detective ambience, if you will, it did satiate that thirst for a taste of old times, gobbling up all those whodunnit's in my childhood bedroom.
Sadly, despite the meritorious character portrayal and great idea of the death countdown, the actual plot ended up being more predictable than I would have liked... and most upsetting was the ending.
Oh, Gardenia. Why? Why??
As any regular readers of the Bibliophile Support Group know, I refuse to spoil the book. Even in a circumstance like this where I really, really, really want to say what is bugging me.
I will say this: It's a short read and well written, in general. If you read Gardenia, and I hope you do, you will know *exactly* what I mean about the ending.
Two words: Cop out.
Until next time, readers...