Size Doesn’t Matter (153): Edgeland; Windfall

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 (153): Edgeland; WindfallEdgeland by Jake Halpern, Peter Kujawinski
Narrator: Karissa Vacker
Length: 8 hrs, 5 mins
Published by Listening Library on May 9, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Thriller
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

An upper-middle grade thriller by the New York Times bestselling Nightfall authors-perfect for fans of James Dashner's Maze Runner books.

Thousands of miles south of the island of Bliss, day and night last for 72 hours. Here is one of the natural wonders of this world: a whirlpool thirty miles wide and a hundred miles around. This is the Drain.

Anything sucked into its frothing, turbulent waters is never seen again.
Wren has spent most of her life on Edgeland, a nearby island where people bring their dead to be blessed and prepared for the afterlife. There the dead are loaded into boats with treasure and sent over the cliff, and into the Drain. Orphaned and alone, Wren dreams of escaping Edgeland, and her chance finally comes when furriers from the Polar north arrive with their dead, and treasure for their dead.

With the help of her friend Alec, Wren plans to loot one of the boats before it enters the Drain. But the boat--with Alec and Wren onboard--is sucked into the whirlpool. What they discover beyond the abyss is beyond what anyone could have imagined.

Includes an original song written and performed by Celia Rose. Visit www.celiarosemusic.com for more.

I had a ton of fun listening to Edgeland, though I do have some serious worldbuilding and plot questions. As per usual with middle grade, I also feel like it would have been way more fun with some shippiness added.

The concept of Edgeland‘s really cool. Wren and Alec live in Edgeland, a land that works primarily in disposing of the dead. Alec’s an apprentice who works in funerary rites. Wren once was, but she got kicked out for thieving from a dead body and is now a homeless grayling. The two end up accidentally going down the drain and taking a trip to this fantasy world’s afterlife.

Plotwise, I feel like there’s either too much or not enough focus on Wren and Alec’s actual lives. It’s one of those vaguely portal-esque fantasies where I just wasn’t sure why so much time had been spent on their actual lives for that to not matter too much to the actual plot. Character development across the board could have been stronger. And I was also left with a lot of questions about how any of this shit worked. I enjoyed what was here, but I’d have loved more across the board from Edgeland.

Vacker’s performance is pretty fun, though there’s a hilarious range of accents. The original song at the end is actually good, which was a surprise. It’s a fun read, though not a favorite.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

I received this book for free from ALA 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 (153): Edgeland; WindfallWindfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Delacorte BFYR on May 2, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 418
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

Let luck find you.

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

If you follow my reading closely, you probably already know that I’ve had this ongoing struggle with Smith’s books. She’s a talented author and she writes fluffy romance, so I really want to read and love them all, but she’s into different sorts of tropes and ships than I am. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Windfall, but I didn’t ship the ship, so…

From what I’d heard going into Windfall, I expected to find Alice insufferable, but I actually sympathized with her. There’s a bit of “not like other girls” syndrome with the way other people talk about her selflessness and the choices she makes, but I felt like she had pretty clear emotional reasons for why she acted as she did. Also, it’s kind of hilarious that her plot arc is learning that being so selfless can actually be an unhealthy thing, which was pretty cute. I really liked her arc, the writing, and the sheer readableness (totes a word) of Windfall.

However, I really did not ship the ship. Alice has been in love with her best friend Teddy for ages (who is characterized like a YA heroine: super average-looking but every single girl wants him bad). The best friend pining for the other rarely works for me, and he reminded me a bit of Mal from the Grisha trilogy. There’s just no way he can’t sense her pining, and it makes no sense that he kissed her at the start and just ignored it; he hurts her a lot before the end for no reason. Also, they just really don’t seem like a good fit personality-wise; they have such disparate interests and life goals. Take as an example the hot mess that is their physics project. Then he had to create a charity to be good enough for her. Like. I just really don’t see this relationship turning out healthily because going into it she was so aware of all the things she wanted to change about him. And he’s kind of an idiot. His spending of the money was so stressful MY GOD. I actually wanted her to date the sad little second love interest who never stood a chance (who is sweet and nerdy and volunteers by choice and shares her interests).

I’m sort of at a loss to quantify why I had so much fun reading this, but I did. And I’ll be writing mental fan fiction where they break up and she finds someone better to date and they can just be friends (maybe).

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

 

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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