Title: Optimists Die First
Author: Susin NielsenGenre: Young Adult, Inspirational
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
There's nothing really awful about this book; but there's also nothing that really stands out either, except maybe that it's set in Canada. I'm a sucker for books written and set in my own country; especially when I've been to the place as many times as I've been to Vancouver.
So why doesn't this stand-out?
I think it's because, while well-written and engaging, the characters are just not all that interesting or unique. They are very stereotypical. You have your typical classes of 'troubled teens'; a drug addict, a gay, a disabled person, someone anxiety plagued; and of course all of them have mental issues because of their specific situations. Now this is all very good and true; but it's nothing new or even all that inspiring.
It also takes on way too many issues at once. Not just teens with issues that are mentioned but even just the issues our lead gal has are overwhelming. What this means is that there is never a good focus on one thing over the other. I'd prefer to see more focus on an issue and really dig into them at a true human level and not just as a superficial discussion or thought.
While the characters may be archetypes, there are some gems in the plot. The clever videos they all make to tell their emotional story, a twist that many will see coming but those that don't will be shocked by, and the organization of events that don't go from bad to great, but instead are like life. Sometimes the going is good and sometimes it's bad.
There will likely be a teen or two out there that will really connect with this book (probably because of the cats); but this is not as impactful as many other young adult books like it.
So I give it three stars because it's fine, I read the whole thing, and it was entertaining enough. But I can't help but feel it could have been more.
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review. Don't believe me? Check out the other books I've had eARCs for that I gave poor reviews to. I always give my opinion whether good or bad.