Author: Alissa Grosso (Twitter)
Publish Date: July 8, 2013
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Barbara “Babie” Bunting is constantly mistaken for her sisters, but she’s determined not to end up like her family. She doesn’t plan to stick around Shallow Pond after graduation, and she certainly won’t be ruined by a broken heart. That is, until fellow orphan Zach Faraday walks into the picture, and Babie can’t deny their chemistry.When her oldest sister, Annie, comes down with a mysterious illness—initially dismissed as “love sickness”—Babie and Zach start investigating what exactly killed the girls’ mother and why their late father became so consumed by grief. What they find changes everything.
Barbara is the baby of the family. An orphan with two older sisters raising her, she's certain of only one thing: her life is messy...and weird. Shallow Pond is a tiny town - too tiny for Barbara's dreams - and she's counting the days until she can go to college and escape her past and the town's nothingness altogether. But there's something that's holding Barbara and her family in Shallow Pond. There is something darker and more unknown about her very own destiny, and she'll have to uncover that before she can ever truly find herself and escape Shallow Pond forever.
There's something to be said for reading books with little, to no hype at all. I love being able to go into a book entirely blind, formulating my own opinions from the get-go and never having those other reviews fighting for their views to come to the forefront of my mind. Shallow Pond offers readers an intriguing, mysterious and engaging premise. From veteran author, Alissa Grosso, we're given a story of sisters who, outwardly look similar, but they couldn't be more different underneath it all. Fast-paced and well-plotted, Shallow Pond is a guessing-game from start to finish, never revealing the truth until readers are absolutely ready for the big reveal.
I read Shallow Pond in one day. Actually, I read it in about six hours total. It's an engrossing tale that winds you into the mystery from page one. There was a lot that I loved about this book, but I definitely had a few issues with it, as well, though some of them might by petty preferences. Barbara was a tricky character for me. She was so carefully guarded that it made it difficult to get a firm grasp on who she was as person. Plus, her identity was so wrapped up in those of her sisters, Annie and Gracie, that we're never exactly sure who she is and, instead, define her by her desire to escape Shallow Pond for good. When Zach Faraday enters the picture, we watch as Barbara's shell slowly cracks around her, but she keeps replacing it again, and again, and again, though I'm sure she didn't even really know what she wanted. There were times when we got to see this vulnerable girl succumb to the desire to be around Zach, though we're not sure where the desire stems from. Other times, however, she pushes him away almost violently, and we can't help but get annoyed by the constant flip-flopping. It was almost like whiplash over and over. Her sisters are clearly defined with Gracie being the boy-crazy middle child and Annie being the soft-spoken eldest daughter - though the latter remained somewhat of an enigma throughout. We're also offered a handful of secondary characters including her best friends but, at times, they felt more like filler characters, simply adding elements to the pages. Plus, there was a constant sort of derision between Barbara and her friends, which eventually just felt too much like the age-old teenage drama that I wanted to so badly to escape. In terms of highlights, however, the author does a fantastic job with the mystery element and subsequent reveal. I'll be honest and say that of all the scenarios in my mind, that was never even an afterthought. Plus, the foreshadowing is carefully balanced, so we never know too much too soon. Now, if I might be petty, I did have an issue with some of the action verbs of the novel. In normal conversations, despite the frantic and frenzied nature, I would not use "screamed," "shrieked" or "shouted" throughout. I think they pulled me out of the moment and displaced me a bit, which was unfortunate. Furthermore, I think that the final chapters of the novel could have been drawn out further, giving us more backstory and more of an understanding as to why, exactly, their lives had been molded as such.
All in all though, Shallow Pond is a quick, fast and engaging read. The writing style is easy to follow, and the mystery element is extremely well done. I give it a 3 out of 5, and I definitely recommend this story to fans of YA looking for a fast-paced, mystery and sci-fi story.
I received this book free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.