by Janine Caldwell
Publication date: May 25th 2013
Source: eARC for tour
Seventeen-year-old Joanna Murphy has lost faith in her life. Vying for her mom’s attention, she’s resentful of her stepdad’s intrusion to their family. Her best friend, Tommy, has no clue she’s in love with him as he dates girl after girl without noticing how it tortures her. The final kicker, though, is God’s sick joke to make her freakishly tall when everyone knows boys prefer petite girls.
Then in a bizarre accident Joanna meets James, a breathtaking teen who appears to her after an unusual falling star sighting. Suddenly, her dream for an alien encounter becomes all too real. But when she finds her life has been made unrecognizable, she’s forced into an explosive study of the original design for her life that just may have her regretting every wish she ever made.
Joanna is not happy with her life. She’s in love with her best friend, Tommy, who has no idea how she feels about him. She sits by watching him date girl after girl, always wishing he would look at her the way he looks at them. She’s also miserable because she feels like her mom has pretty much discarded her for her new husband, Stan. As if that isn’t enough to ruin any seventeen-year-old girls life, she’s over six foot tall and feels like no boy will ever want her. Guys like petite girls, don’t you know. One night, after her mother delivers the final blow to her already crumbling world, she climbs out her window, up to the roof to gaze at the stars and wish that her life could be different, that she was different. And wouldn’t you know it… a falling star appears in the clear Arizona sky above her. Be careful what you wish for!
Visited is a lot different than I anticipated after seeing the cover. I thought I was cracking open a YA Science Fiction novel, but it reads more like a middle grade contemporary with elements of fantasy. That was my own fault, reading too much into the cover, and I accept full responsibility. Y’all know how I am.. a total cover snob and this one invoked expectations that were merely assumptions on my part. You know what they say about those that assume, right? Anyway, I applaud the author for such a creative and unique premise. I mean, WOW, what an awesome idea for a book! To wish upon a falling star and have your whole world turned on its side. It was also interesting to watch the morals that the story was built on unfold throughout this tale of fantasy with a touch of mystery.
Joanna is a character that is easy to relate to because of her body issues. Most people have issues with some aspect of their body at some point in their lives, whether it be in school or later in life. But I also felt like Joanna was a bit immature for her age, and selfish when it came down to it, which may actually be why it felt more like a MG book.
James is the newcomer in Joanna’s life that turns her world upside down. He’s described as unnaturally handsome, which I normally love in a guy — LOL — but I never felt the magnetic pull. Not that I would, personally, since he’s in high school. I mean, yuck.. my son is in high school, but I didn’t feel that his over-the-top good looks and charm shone through or had a relevant purpose in the story, other than to make it easier for Tommy to be jealous.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find the story to be very fluid. The dialogue felt forced and unnatural. I don’t know many high school kids that talk like these characters did. Parts of the story were very reminiscent of an after school special. It’s not a bad element. I used to love after school specials (yes, I’m a Dork with a capital “D”). But again, it’s not what I had anticipated even after reading the synopsis.
Overall this was a pretty good story and I’m glad that I read it. Even though Visited didn’t top the charts for me, I will definitely check out the authors Vortex series because I have read several super-fabuloso reviews for all three books.
~About the Author~
Janine Caldwell was born in Concord, CA and raised in the small San Francisco Bay Area town of Clayton. Four days after her high school graduation, Janine attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and graduated with a degree in English.
Janine now lives in Anthem, AZ with her husband and two sons. As a lifelong literature fanatic, she knew it was only a matter of time before she would become obsessed with writing her own work. With relatives like the Brothers Grimm and Anita Loos (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), she figured fantasy writing had to be in her DNA.
Books published by Janine include Visited, a YA coming-of-age fantasy, Rematch and Double Fault—the first two books of The Vortex Series. The final book in this YA fantasy romance, Deuce, will be released fall 2013.
Janine’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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