Summery: Josie has spent her entire life without knowing her father, and being raised by her mother. As far as she’s concerned, she’s completely okay with that. However, the appearance of her father’s grandparents moving back in to town completely changes things. On top of Josie’s first serious boyfriend, her mother dating again, and her best friend struggling with the possibility that she’s pregnant, she’s got a lot to handle her Junior year.
Why I Picked It Up: The premise was interesting, and it was a free advanced copy. Hard to turn that down.
Why I Finished It: I only finished it because I don’t finish books if they’re totally unreadable.
I feel that inserting personal political views into a story is a delicate matter that should be handled carefully. Never should political views be put in unless it’s needed for the story. Even then, they need to be inserted subtly, and the author has to beware of a character turning into a mouthpiece, or the story grounding to a halt for the sake of reading through pages of what is essentially the author on a soapbox. Part of the reason it doesn’t work is the author risks alienating the reader if their views disagree. It also can really kill the mood and bring the reader out of the story.
For Keeps is a great example of a book ruined by the author pushing her political views into a story, especially one that never needed it in the first place. What’s tragic is For Keeps had everything to make it work. In the young adult genre, there isn’t much originality in stories which cover the life of a girl in high school, but this plot actually had a hint of originality to it. The plot also has plenty of unexpected plot twists which make for an intense story where nothing is at it originally seems and everything is turned on its head by the end.
The character creation could use some work for all the supporting cast, but they’re passable. They’re interesting enough that they’re passable, and some of them are quite likable. After all, the grandfather of our main character, the charming Bob with a cheerful disposition and a witty comment for everything, is truly memorable. He’s even better in any scene with his uptight wife.
The main failing with For Keeps, that was my inability to connect to the main character. I felt like she didn’t even have a personality for me to connect too. So much of the character seemed actually to be a mouthpiece for the author. Rar rar rar, single motherhood is great and amazing and no women needs a man to help him rar rar rar, also hey check out the gay couple who raised this character, well two gay men can’t raise daughter and adequately meet her needs(I’m amazed I didn’t burn the book at that,) and oh, adoption is a horrible terrible option, and so forth. Not only did I fail to connect with her, but I got sick of her really fast.
If I don’t care for the main character, I can’t get involved with the story. Simple fact. If she’s a mouthpiece instead of an actual character, she’s not someone I’ll connect with.
What truly saddens me about For Keeps is I think it had the potential to be a really great story. If only the soapboxing had not been pushed into it.
Who Would I Recommend This To: I didn’t enjoy this enough to recommend it to anyone. If you want to check it out, click on the picture, it will take you to the amazon page, although I don’t know why you would.
Final Grade: C
Characters: C- (70) Supporting cast was hit or miss, but gah, Josie!
Miscellanous Factors: What is with the politics?
Overall Storyline: B- (80) The story was quite nice, but the politics inserted in interupted the flow.
Setting: C (75) Right out of the rubric. Setting is clichéd. Some facts are known, but a lot isn’t fleshed out. The story uses it somewhat