Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Elixir - Hilary Duff

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Indiebound Summary:
Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC politician, she has grown to be a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world. But after Clea’s father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea’s photos begin to feature eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful man—a man she has never seen before.

When fate brings Clea and this man together, she is stunned by the immediate and powerful connection she feels with him. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father’s disappearance, and they discover the centuries old truth behind their intense bond. Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fates, together they race against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their lives—and their futures.

'Hilary Duff wrote a book?!' That was the reaction most people had when they realized what I was reading. To be honest, my reaction was the same when I first found out she was writing a YA novel. But when I read the summary, I was pleasantly surprised. It actually sounded promising. After finishing it though, I had problems with the execution of the plot and the characters.

One, Clea's background. Okay, so she's the daughter of a famous surgeon and a politician that has felt the spotlight her whole life. I might buy that she grew up kind of famous, but not to the extent portrayed in the novel. The America I know is more obsessed about the children of actors, models and the like. Unless you're the president or vice-president, most of America probably won't know who their politicians' kids are. I like to think of myself as sort-of politically savvy and I don't know who my senator's kids are, much less the kids from a senator from another state.

Two, Clea's characterization. Clea is rich, smart, famous, etc. Which probably won't be relatable to many readers. However, her sense of loss from her father's death, her drive for independence from her celebrity parent, and her strong friendship with Rayna does bridge the gap between her character and the reader's. That's a plus. However, Clea never felt completely fleshed out to me. She never becomes a three-dimensional person in my mind. I feel like with Clea and all the other characters is that Duff was just skimming the surface. There was so much to explore with these characters. But Rayna is the stock best friend. Ben is the boy who secretly crushes on her. And Sage is the mysterious boy who Clea is drawn to.

Three, Sage and Clea's relationship. I didn't buy it. It was one of those typical YA cliché where they have an instant connection and fall in love in a span of a couple days. Yea, that didn't sit well with me. I like my romances to build up. And it's not really about the days, but the fact that you barely know anything about him.

Clea, I can't believe you slept with him after knowing him for less then a week! And in a car?! I pretty much loss a lot of respect for you when you made that decision.

Four and last point, the plot. The premise was oh so promising. But there were so many plot holes. A lot of the plot seemed forced and engineered to get to where the author wanted it to be. Nothing felt natural. The home schooling is mention a continuous amount, but that was seemed like a way to explain all the jet setting all the time. And the two groups after the Elixir. They never really get explained. They become convenient villains. And a web forum?! For groups that sound like secret cults, a web forum?! Way to broadcast your not-so-secret group to the rest of the world. And the climax, a complete dud.

I really wanted to like this book. But there were so many problems. It's an easy read, if you can get pass the undeveloped plot and 2-D characters. I couldn't.

Book Source: ARC copy from publisher

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