Saturday, February 18, 2012

Arty -- Behind The Gates by Eva Gray

Dystopian. The new paranormal romance, as many people are saying. Which is a shame, because good dystopian is really good. I haven't come across a good paranormal romance (in all my experience with the genre, y'understand). Anyway, dystopian has now reached its totalitarian paws into the middle grade area of the library with the series Tomorrow Girls, by Eva Gray, starting with Behind the Gates.

It's 2020. America is in trouble because of a strange war with someone called the Alliance. Everything is different. (Don't ask me how, I don't remember.) But 13-year-old Louisa isn't worried about the war right now; she's about to go off to privileged Country Manor School with her best friend Maddie.

CMS isn't exactly what Louisa expected, with the wilderness training and sharpshooting classes; still, she loves it. But Maddie doesn't. And one of their roommates, Evelyn, thinks it's all suspicious. But CMS is just trying to keep the girls safe - right?

I don't really need to explain anymore, because we've heard the plot about a hundred times over. Girls sent away to school, school seems weird but strange, girls learn about nefarious scheme behind school, have to... do something. And it's all in this little 240-page book. Very different girls fighting at first and then binding into an unlikely team - check. Main charrie is bland and pretty stupid but OMG SO GOOD AT EVERYTHING - check. One of the girls seems paranoid but is actually OMG SO RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING - check. Another girl - Rosie, their other roommate - is a snobby jock girl but OMG SHE'S ACTUALLY NOT BAD - check.

Which brings me to Maddie, possibly the most annoying best friend I've ever read. This book might have been better if it hadn't been for poor, pathetic, angsty, whiny Maddie. Louisa and Maddie are supposed to be bestest of best friends - they have to pass as twins because Maddie's family is too poor to send her to CMS, and breaking the law is Louisa's way of saying 'I love you' - but as soon as they get to CMS, it's like their friendship dissolves. Maddie angsts. about. everything. I kid you not. And when the inevitable reconciliation comes, it's just so sudden and cardboardy, I laughed straight through it.

And then we have the villains. Oh, the villains. I don't want to 'give anything away' (not that there's anything you won't be able to guess from the get-go), but... there was one scene where it looked like the bad guys would win, and the women villains all laughed over their 'glorious victory.' I was laughing there, too.

There were a few things to like about this series, I guess, but it's really not worth reading it to find them. I hear the second book Run For Cover is better. Still, I have better things to read.

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