Monday, July 12, 2010

The View From the Top by Hillary Frank

Title: The View From the Top
Author: Hillary Frank
Pages: 272
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: May 13, 2010

Eighteen-year-old Anabelle’s last few months in her coastal hometown are bittersweet. Instead of the quiet pre-college summer she expects, Anabelle makes some surprising discoveries about herself as she navigates romantic entanglements and changing friendships. Through shifting points of view in seven interconnected stories, we glimpse the limits of how well her friends really know Anabelle . . . and how little she grasps about the way they see her.

The View From the Top is an unprecedented but quite disappointing read that presents different yet normal teenage problems through six different viewpoints that are poorly executed. Each character is unique and original, but readers will truly feel disconnected and alienated towards them. The transition between the viewpoints is rough and unpolished. The main storyline and themes are irrelevant and vague to each other, making for a dismantling and broken read.

Annabelle is supposedly the 'glue' in The View From the Top but the ties she has with the five others (Tobin, Jonah, Lexi, Matt, and Mary-Tyler) are random and complicated. Her decisions and actions are predictably annoying and inconsistent. Although The View From the Top explores themes such as sexual preference, and friendship, those themes are discharged in a way that is quite hard to relate to.

Hillary Frank is an author with solid ideas and a strong voice, but the exposition and the characters are vague and two-dimensional. (D-)

The Bottom Line: Quite pointless and sadly, boring.

---Field Report---
Originality: 8/10
Ending: 3/10
Characters: 2/10
Plot: 2/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 2/10
Theme: 3/10
Imagery: 5/10
Setting: 3/5
Voice: 2/5
Style: 3/5
Tone: 3/5
Cover: 8/10
Total Score: 44/100 (D-)

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Precious July 12, 2010 at 7:06 PM  

Oh that's sad that this wasn't written smoothly! Great honest review.

brizmus July 12, 2010 at 8:25 PM  

okay, I won't read it. Thanks for letting me know not to waste my time with this one.

Anonymous,  July 12, 2010 at 9:11 PM  


Scoring it off of the list. Thanks for the honest opinion!

Cara July 12, 2010 at 9:55 PM  

I read the synopsis & thought, 'Man, this sounds pretty good!' Then, I read your review & crossed it off the mental TBR list.

Valerie Kemp July 12, 2010 at 10:36 PM  

Oh wow, I'd been thinking this book sounded really interesting and I might pick it up. I guess now I'll save my money and wait until the library gets it. Thanks for an honest review!

Adriana July 12, 2010 at 10:54 PM  

This book sounds similar to one I read a few years ago and that book was disappointing. Wont be reading this one anytime soon.

Alex Bennett from Electrifying Reviews July 12, 2010 at 11:16 PM  

Never heard of it. Probably a good thing, eh.

Nat July 12, 2010 at 11:18 PM  

There is nothing I love more than an honest review. Thank you! I can't stand it when people give everything 4-5 stars. It undermines the validity of their opinion, to me. I hate that it wasn't a better read for you!

Vicky B July 12, 2010 at 11:53 PM  

Hmm. Well. Hllary Frank is definitely not a debut author. This is her third book. I read her first two, Better Than Running at Night and I Can't Tell You, and although they were very sad, they were beautifully written novels, so I'll probably still pick this one up and see for myself, but thanks for the review. It's always nice to see someone else's take on it before I create my own opinion.

Sara July 13, 2010 at 2:30 AM  

Usually, when I don't agree with a review, I just hold my tongue. But I feel that I MUST speak up about this one! It is extremely well written and I respect your opinion, but I must tell readers out there that, even if you did not enjoy it, I adored it! I felt that it was beautifully written and I connected on multiple levels with Anabelle. I'll have review of the novel up on my blog soon, so hopefully I can convince readers to still give the novel a chance!

Krista Van Dolzer July 13, 2010 at 6:04 AM  

Thanks for this honest review. Seems like a lot of blogs hand out accolades like Dum-Dums, so this is refreshing.

Jenny July 13, 2010 at 7:55 AM  

Hi! Just popped in from the CEP to check out your review. Based on what you said, I don't think I'll be picking this one up, but it's great how thorough your review is with the field report! I'm a new follower and I look forward to seeing what you have coming up:)

Emma Michaels July 13, 2010 at 10:41 AM  

I saw that you are a part of the Debut Author Challenge! That is so amazing that you are supporting debut authors and I only recently found out that I am going to be one!!! I wanted to ask if you wouldn’t mind heading over to my blog and giving me your opinion. As a blogger turned author I would really appreciate it and the publisher is still giving out ARCs so you might have a chance at a free copy! Thank you and I hope you will stop by and check out The Thirteenth Chime!

Emma Michaels

P.S.- My release date if Friday the 13th (August this year) isn't that crazy?

Erika July 13, 2010 at 6:38 PM  

i had such high hopes for this one, and it's so sad that it turned out to be not good at all. i tend to deviate to books that connect a lot of different stories, since they usually end up too complicated for my liking. i was hoping this would be different. thank you so much for the heads up!

here on the cep :)

Unknown July 15, 2010 at 7:23 AM  

Oh man, that is so disappointing!

Unknown July 15, 2010 at 9:14 AM  

CEP. Thanks for a honest review. I'll definitely be staying away from this book. :-)

Darlyn July 19, 2010 at 11:56 PM  

It sounds lovely but yeah kind of let down to know its not that interesting =(

Ashley July 20, 2010 at 2:00 AM  

Oh dang, I had my eye on this one but never read it. I think I'll reconsider it now. Thanks for your honesty - there's nothing worse in a book than undeveloped characters.

Mary not so Contrary July 28, 2010 at 12:42 AM  

yikes!! Thanks for being honest with this book. Sounds like a fell short of a few things.

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