Thursday, January 13, 2011

Conflicted over if this works or not

So Shelly by Ty Roth
"Until now, high school junior, John Keats, has only tiptoed near the edges of the vortex that is schoolmate and literary prodigy, Gordon Byron. That is, until their mutual friend, Shelly, drowns in a sailing accident.

After stealing Shelly's ashes from her wake at Trinity Catholic High School, the boys set a course for the small Lake Erie island where Shelly's body had washed ashore and to where she wished to be returned. It would be one last "so Shelly" romantic quest. At least that's what they think. As they navigate around the obstacles and resist temptations during their odyssey, Keats and Gordon glue together the shattered pieces of Shelly's and their own pasts while attempting to make sense of her tragic and premature end."- summary from Amazon

I'm not sure what to say about this book. The concept as well as the narrative itself is interesting, but at the same time, I feel like it just didn't work for me. The narrator doesn't do much of anything and is mainly just relaying stories about the past featuring the other characters Shelly and Gordon. Even in the scenes set in the now with Gordon and Keats fulfilling Shelly's final wish, Keats takes a backseat to whatever Gordon does and goes along for the ride, so it can be a bit boring for the reader.

Taking three historical figures and transplanting them and their real stories (with some liberties taken, of course) in our society was a wonderful idea. It's very fun, but educational in a way at the same time. So the concept was very cool, but I'm not sure the execution worked for me. I did like the atmosphere that was set up- it felt very Romantic (period-wise, not love-wise) so that was nice to see. The afterward that Roth wrote is very informative and it was cool to see how he wrote the book as well as what stuff actually happened because there are tons of scandalous things in this book, which I of course love. :) But this is definitely a dark, deep book, and that could be why I wasn't as into it since I may not have been in the mood for that kind of read.

Overall, while I liked the idea, the execution fell flat for me and I almost put the book down several times because I just didn't really feel anything for the characters, but at the same time, I wanted to see how it would all end and why Shelly died. That's why I kept going. This is a confusing book for me to review because I'm not sure about my recommendation; I guess it just falls in the middle- it's not horrible, but it's not amazing.

So Shelly will be released in hardcover on February 8, 2011 from Random House.


Joe Cottonwood said...

Shouldn't we mention that the plot sounds like a ripoff of another recent novel, Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray, about 3 boys who steal their friend's ashes and take them to the place he would really want to be?

Colleen said...

I had not heard of Ostrich Boys, Joe! Thanks for letting us know about it and I will check it out.


I recently read about the Ostrich Boys and marked it as to read on my Good Reads list. I was so looking forward to So Shelly, but now, I think I'll wait and borrow it from the library when it eventually gets there. My son would probably prefer Ostrich Boys.

Love your recommendations! Have been looking for recommendations for boys for awhile.


BookChic said...

Joe- I haven't read Ostrich Boys nor did I know what it was about when I wrote this review so I couldn't really mention any similarities.