Monday, May 12, 2014

The Living by Matt de la Pena

This book has plenty of action, some romance, and is a mixed bag of genres that made it somewhat choppy. Toss in characters with not much depth and I just about abandoned it several times. Shy is working on a cruise for the summer making friends with other crew members his age. He is interested in Carmen but she is engaged to a guy back home. They both have relatives that died from a wicked disease that kills within 24 hours. When a man commits suicide, Shy finds himself being stalked by a guy in a black suit. When an earthquake strikes the West Coast causing tsunami's, the cruise ship is in danger and Shy must try to help save his friends and passengers. When he discovers the black suit guy's employers real intentions, he must help save the world.

The dialogue has the kids swearing all the time and tossing racist comments between the mixed race crew and rich white kids on the cruise. While it is nice to see a protagonist with mixed heritage, the stereotyped rich kid, poor kid never let the story rise above a contrived plot. There is too much name-calling and Shy seems to point fingers just as much as the white kids making for a shallow message.  When Shy begins to make friends with one of the prejudiced girls as a result of their traumatic escape from the ship, I kept waiting for some revelation regarding her racist comments but instead they seem to be interested in becoming boyfriend and girlfriend. She says she is sorry, but that's it.

If you want to compare survival in a raft, then read, "Unbroken," by Laura Hillenbrand that has a similar setup except Hillenbrand's story is based on a true story. Both author's seem to do a good job with the horrors, although Hillenbrand goes into more detail which you'd expect in an adult story. The plot dealing with Romero's disease was interesting but the shifts from romance to survival to mystery made it feel like separate stories. They come together at the end, but there are times when it seemed like a different story. It gets a bit unbelievable at the end but suspend your disbelief and just go with the flow. This is on the beach, fluff reading with a cliff hanger ending.

2 Smileys

No comments:

Post a Comment