by Cat Patrick
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, May 1 2012
young adult sci-fi
ARC received from publisher (thank you!)
Daisy has been changing her last name and her hometown every few years; it's a small price to pay for Revive, a drug that brings her back to life every time she gets run over by a bus, stung by a bee, etc. But it's when Daisy makes a new friend in Audrey -- and falls in love with said friend's brother Matt -- that her eyes are opened to the possible dark side of the society behind the drug.The cover:
The blue film is lovely, especially with that translucency and teal-ishness. And the positioning of the girl, with the eye peeking out -- thumbs up. But I'm afraid it gives the wrong impression of the book, which really isn't as sinister as it tries to be...
Oh, dear. *sigh* Cat Patrick takes on the iffy theme of death... and botches it. It would've been perfectly acceptable to focus on just the rogue organization behind Revive, or just on coping with death and (lack of) immortality. Instead, the author tries to do both. The end result is a novel that attempts to end on a philosophically peaceful note after a lame climax involving an equally lame villain.
Let's look at the society behind the drug. It's all reasonably credible, with the foster parents, techy jobs and hush-hush-ness, until we get to the conspiracy theories. There's simply no evidence of a large-scale corruption to go along with the misgivings Daisy roots up with love-interest Matt and BFF Meghan.
Speaking of characters: Daisy is moderately likeable until she starts panicking all over the palce. Matt doesn't seem to have anything to recommend him to the reader as he does to Daisy, but Meghan does, thank goodness. Both she and Audrey have just enough quirk to liven up Daisy in their interactions. (Although the repeated hammerings of Meghan's transgenderness -- "...my sister-born-a-brother..." -- feels as though Patrick's trying to score diversity points.)
Unfortunately, with the disintegration of the society's scariness, our villain (named "God") is reduced to eye-rolling speeches of evil while Daisy is felled by a hive of bees and her allergies. Not even by the mastermind's plan. It comes as no surprise that God is apprehended and taken into custody with no explanation as to how this supposed mastermind was so instantaneously found.
At the end of this book, I was thoroughly unimpressed. The ending didn't help. See, in a properly told story, it would've been touching. (Try Nina LaCour's Hold Still.) Instead it ends up hokey. Which means Eden = sad.
Rating: 2.2 out of 5