Size Doesn’t Matter (124): How to Break a Boy; Vision in Silver

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (124): How to Break a Boy; Vision in SilverHow to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore
Published by Imprint on January 31, 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.

After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself

Devore’s How to Break a Boy wasn’t remotely what I was expecting. The cover and title had me ready for an adorable fake dating contemporary romance. I mean, obviously I saw the darker stuff in the blurb, but the marketing made me think that would be more of a back story than it was. Instead, How to Break a Boy is a hard to take story with an often unlikable heroine who is struggling to escape an incredibly toxic friendship.

This falls into that category of books that I really struggle to rate because I think it does a lot of things very effectively, and it definitely made me feel stuff. But what it made me feel was uncomfortable and stressed and not so much anything pleasant. But it wanted to make me feel that way and it did. But I didn’t enjoy it. How to Break a Boy was largely frustrating read. Purposefully. But still.

Olivia Clayton is a mean girl. She became one when she moved to the boring southern town of Buckley, because top mean girl Adrienne seemed like the only girl in this backwater worth being friends with, so Olivia made fun of a fat girl and became friends with Adrienne. That’s one of her lesser evils throughout the book.

Adrienne clearly has anti-social personality disorder; she manipulates and fucks with Olivia constantly, but Olivia makes the choice to keep playing those games and to treat people like shit. The whole book is about Olivia owning that and trying to escape from Adrienne’s web. It’s a scary and compelling picture of what it’s like trying to get away from a toxic friendship with a psychopath best friend (the way Olivia’s convinced and cajoled by Adrienne over and over).

The book’s clearly doing a character arc thing, and Olivia is learning, but it happens very slowly. Olivia will consistently do absolutely monstrous things to people, including Whit, the fake boyfriend and love interest. Olivia spends most of the book being a pretty terrible person. While I did feel sympathy with her, most of the time I hated her thoroughly. The narrative definitely doesn’t let her off for any of her shit, but it so very hard to watch her constantly make really bad choices.

For the heavy novel that it is, I think How to Break a Boy may have worked a bit better without a romance, and I don’t think you should read this book if you came here for the fake dating. If you’re looking for mean girls, toxic friendships and psychopaths, you are in the right place.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Size Doesn’t Matter (124): How to Break a Boy; Vision in SilverVision in Silver by Anne Bishop
Series: The Others #3
Published by Roc on February 2, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 493
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
four-half-stars

The Others freed the cassandra sangue to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…

Since the final book in The Other series comes out in March, I’ve been rereading the whole series. I didn’t re-review Written in Red or Murder of Crows because I’m happy with my reviews for those. However, I have a bit more understanding for Vision in Silver now, and I’m upping my rating.

Vision in Silver disappointed me on both of my prior reads. I mean, it’s still great and I knew that, but I wanted more from it. Now that I’m reading in print, I could really see why. The number of chapters swells from book two to book three, because the focus has expanded from just the Lakeside courtyard in a way that’s new. You’re not as invested in these other characters in other places, and that slows the pace down.

Also, Vision in Silver focuses on setting up plot for the rest of the series. Vision in Silver is the calm before the storm. It’s tense, but there’s not a lot of actual action until the last half or so of the book. The pace crawls for the first half. Bishop’s heavy on detail to the degree that you know what all of the main characters (of which there are a lot) think about everything. That’s part of why the characterization is so strong in this series, but it’s a lot to wade through.

There’s still so much to love here, but trying to down this particular installment in one sitting could definitely be a practice in frustration. On audiobook, that slow pace was made even slower and caused me frustration. In print, I could take my time. Bishop does kindly sprinkle in ship moments throughout.

Something else I appreciated about Vision in Silver this time is that it shows a new side of Meg. She’s been a pretty solid rock for most of the series, but with the added pressure of needing to be a Trailblazer for the rescued cassandra sangue, she’s cracking. Meg’s falling apart in a way she hasn’t. She’s making mistakes and getting taken to task for them. She hurts friends, accidentally, and it’s all really important to Meg as a character. It’s part of her maturing. This too could be painful in getting through this installment, but, though Meg is one of the sweetest, most lovable characters ever, it’s so important that she’s not perfect. She has flaws and bad days and fucks up, just like everybody else.

So yeah, Vision in Silver is probably the weakest link in this series, but it does important things for the larger narrative and character arcs. Don’t get frustrated. I debated on how to rate this one, but ultimately settled on 4.5 like the rest. I love the shit out of this book and this series. They’re all favorites, even the weakest of this amazing bunch.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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