Saturday, 10 December 2011

Personal Demons

Author: Lisa Desrochers
Pages: 365

Genre: Supernatural/Young Adult

First Line: "If there's Hell on Earth, it's high school."

Synopsis:  Frannie is living the life of a typical teenager ... until her senior year when Luc Cain enrolls in her school.  Unbeknownst to Frannie, Luc works in Acquisitions for none other than the devil himself.  Frannie has a secret power that Heaven and hell will stop at nothing to get.   Luc has been sent to tag Frannie's soul for hell.  All he has to do is get her to sin enough and she's guaranteed a ticket to hell. 

Heaven has other plans.  Gabe is sent from the Almighty himself to make sure that Frannie's soul is tagged for heaven ensuring that hell doesn't get access to Frannie's power.  It doesn't take long before Luc and Gabe are vying for much more than just Frannie's eternal soul.

My Thoughts:  When I heard about this book via another book blogger on Twitter I was intrigued.  Heaven and hell fighting over the soul of a teenage girl?  Love triangle?  Supernatural element!?  Oh yes, sign me up!  Sadly, this book didn't match up to my expectations.

I do love me a good supernatural book.  Throw in a realistic romance (be it teenage or adult) and I'm a happy reader.  Be warned that this book was much more high school romance than supernatural.  It was, in a word, 'cute'.  Cute is great for puppies and that new sweater you bought at H&M but not for a book that features demons vying for a teenage soul.  Kind of disjointed.  Another thing that is disjointed is the picture on the cover.  I'm not sure about you but I can't remember many teenagers in my school that looked like those three who appear to be closer to their late 20's than their teens.  In a word, they've been "90210'd".

Now to the nitty gritty of the review.  The story is told from the point of view of Frannie and Luc.  While I did enjoy learning firsthand how they felt during certain situations I will admit that, at times, their voices started to blend together and I had to skip back and remind myself who was speaking. 

Unfortunately a third voice wasn't part of the line up.  Gabe, sweet innocent Gabriel, was left out in the proverbial cold.  He may have been angelic but he had no voice in this book.  This left the romance aspect of the book to be less of a triangle and more of a line.  Sadly, Gabriel wasn't much romantic competition for Luc and was about as interesting as watching grass grow during a Canadian winter.  Because he was such a tertiary character the reader never gets to really know Gabe.

Then there's 'Bad Boy Luc' (short for Lucifer -- in case you weren't 100% sure he was the 'bad to the bone' character).  If I'm being honest, Luc was about as scary as a wee kitty playing on the grass that is Gabe that we're watching grow during a Canadian winter.   Still with me?   After 7000 years being a demon who tags people's souls for 'H-E-double hockey sticks' you'd think he'd be ... well, a heck of a lot scarier, heartless and downright nasty!!  Do some damage Luc! Maim a few people! Jay walk for goodness sake!!   A few weeks falling all over himself to be with Frannie and he morphs into a big fat wuss.  Sad but true.

I realize that this is a YA novel but this felt very juvenile and really silly at times.  For the first part of the book it was a lot about who sat with whom in the caf.  Is Frannie's best friend interested in Luc?!?  Did Frannie like Luc or did she really like Gabe?  She just kissed Luc and now she feels 'all tingly down there'.  "I'll take 'I Wish I Had the Troubles of Youth' for $1000, Alex".

I honestly think that for an author to grab me with a 'can't put down book' I have to (HAVE TO!) feel a connection with the main character.  S/he doesn't have to be boring and perfect but they do have to be realistic.  Sadly, I really didn't like or connect with Frannie.  I found it hard to figure out why these two guys fell in love with her in the first place.  She was very wishy-washy and kind of boring. 

She started off this small but strong girl who could hold her own.  Enter in cute boys and voila she's a walking mass of hormones who cannot think for herself ... unless it's deciding which one of the guys to make out with.  She goes from being this quiet girl with a free trip to UCLA who doesn't get a lot of attention to having two very hot guys tripping over themselves to be with her ... and she doesn't wonder why?  Really?  Back in my high school days that kind of thing (sadly) didn't happen.  Not that I didn't wish that it did ........ but I digress.

What I did like was her relationship with her Grandfather.  They had a touching and close bond which felt authentic.  I also liked how she wrote journal-style letters to her dead brother to get her feelings out.  It's really the only honest and believable feelings I got from her.   It helped make her more of a real person than just a caricature of a self-obsessed high schooler.  Note: I'm still trying to figure out why the author decided to randomly throw in that Frannie has a pen pal overseas.  Why is that relevant?  It was mentioned a few times and I'm still scratching my head over that one.  If anyone can shed some light on this please let me know.

There were other unanswered questions that I would have liked answers to.  Frannie's parents unexpectedly had a really bad feeling about Luc.  It wasn't explained at all but they were adamant that their daughter stay away from him.  WHY?  Did their Parental Spidey Sense go off?  Also, why does Frannie have this amazing power?  Why not that girl two blocks over in ninth grade with a raging case of the Bieber Fever?  It was never explained.   It's kind of an important issue that was never dealt with.  Odd.

I realize that the author didn't write this book for woman embarking on her 40's.  I get that.  As a mom of 3 kids I have a different view of what is romantic.  This was made abundantly clear when I read how Luc demonically possessed Frannie.  The possession was written to be a romantic kind of thing.  This is where my age comes in.  Personally, having a demon (even a super sexy one) get sucked up my nose and inhabit my body is not what I like to consider romantic.  Perhaps I'm out of sync with the world's teen population.  I'm ok with that.  I'll take a quiet dinner out with no kids over demonic possession any day. 

This book is geared more towards the 14-17 year old girl who still gets giggly when a guy looks at her across the cafeteria.  I look back at that time in my life fondly.  That era ended for me back when "Cheers" was still on.  Note: If you don't know what "Cheers" is you'll probably like this book.

Overall, I found this book lacking depth of character and storyline.  If you like a very light read filled with high school romance and light on supernatural then this book may be for you.  If you prefer a more realistic relationship between supernatural characters with strong female characters and loads of supernatural power then check out Kelley Armstrong's "Women of the Underworld" series.

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

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