Thursday, August 27, 2015

Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson.

Publish date- 29th July, 2015.
Publisher- Allen and Unwin.
RRP- $16.99 (AUD)


Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
Astrid has a goal. She is passionate about the environment, conservation and bringing to the attention of others the need for addressing the issues of consumerism. And when she meets Hiro she thinks she might just have found someone who can not only be her sidekick in saving the planet, but maybe something more.
Thank you to Allen and Unwin for this review copy!
Image source: Allen and Unwin.

What I thought:
It seems, unfortunately, that as many books as I’ve reread and fallen in love with, 2015 is also a year for protagonist frustrations and DNFing.

Green Valentine has, I really think, a potentially fantastic premise. She’s dressed as a lobster, they give each other superhero names and fight crime (I don’t know where that came from but I swear I thought that element was going to come in) and become surprising (and, no doubt romantic) friends! Who can pass up a lobster suit, even if they remind one of amusing and potentially creepy sequences from The Amanda Show!

But- despite the fascinating cover and all my hopes- Green Valentine was a frustrating flop, all starting with our protagonist, narrator and environmentalist warrior: Astrid.
She wants to save the world, change peoples focus, conserve resources, and she puts herself on a plinth for her efforts. She is ridiculously, and a bit sickeningly, hypocritical and judgmental, she doesn’t bother getting to know people or giving them a chance because she can take one look and see every aspect of their probably worthless being. She goes on and on about how everyone else is so stupid, how no one cares and she is the single comprehending being, and so many environmental facts (at least one of which I can remember mentally contesting for it’s truth) are spouted that the only point made to me was that she would get very little done at all if she wouldn’t give anyone a chance and spent all her time fastidiously judging them.

I can be passionate about environmentalism and conservation without needing to be inundated with whinging.

There was also what felt very much like token gay best friend and a comment about looking cute in an “Asian” way. So those bothered me. A lot.


DNFed at 83 pages.

16 comments:

  1. Romi,
    I'm sorry you didn't love this title. It is so frustrating when you are unable to finish a novel for it's plot/characters/etc. It appears that the author had a tough time combining a love for the environment AND the people who live in it. I hope your next read is a better experience for you!!

    -Jordan

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    1. Isn't it? But I'm at the stage where I'm not going to read a book all the way through if it's bugging the heck out of me- there are just too many other things I'm interested in, so I don't see the point bothering.
      xx

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  2. Wow the cover is so cute, I feel like I would have picked this up just for that. It's disappointing that this didn't work out for you - but I definitely can see why you had problems with it. Astrid would annoy me as well! It sounds like she might think she is better than other people, and I get enough of that annoying behavior in real life, that I don't want to read about it!

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    1. Isn't it neat? I love the green (pink and I don't get along), and the leaves and everything. So nice.
      I definitely got that vibe from Astrid's character, and whether it's her flaw that she has to overcome I don't know- couldn't tell from my skimming to the end- but it was just so frustrating. Exactly! Sometimes characters do annoying things and you can deal with it, but when it's what you already deal with enough in life you don't need it in lit. xx

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  3. "looking cute in an 'Asian' way? What the heck was that about? Lol. Honestly, I couldn't blame you if did DNF'd this one.

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    1. Yeah.... I'm really not sure. It riled me quite a bit, that, and the thing with Astrid's behaviour was that, for the part I read, she never was called out on it. She was just above everyone else.

      Delete
  4. Oh man it sucks every time you have to DNF but I can see why you didn't want to continue. Hope you find some amazing books soon!

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    1. Doesn't it? But I suppose it's also getting you quicker to books that are going to blow your mind. I don't know if I'd like to only read magnificent books- Chiara discussed this a couple months ago. Definitely could do without some of the DNFs, but occasionally it makes for interesting discussion. xx

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  5. Oh man, I'm not surprised that you DNFed this one Romi. Astrid sounds like she has a superior complex, and those, unfortunately, are the most annoying characters to read about. The lobster suit sounds cute, but it definitely does not make up for a character like Astrid. Definitely giving this one a pass. Thanks for the honest review!

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Joy! It's always nice to get positive feedback when you've written a kinda-really-quite negative review. I'm a teeny bit squeamish about posting them, still! Even if it's as fun to write bad reviews as it is good!
      But... yup. She was very superior! That's a very good word for it. xx

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  6. Nooooooooo. This sounds not so great. I was keen for a book about a conservationist/environmentalist because that's what I am (along with animal activist), and I have personally never seen that side of me in a YA book before. And it makes me really sad that the author took the preachy road because not all environmentalists are like that. We want to help the planet, and change how people do things, but spouting judgement all the time is not the way. The only thing that gets us is slurs of "greenies" and "hippies" (neither of which are bad in and of themselves, but the people say them like they are bad things) and worse. SO UGH, very disappointed in that.

    I am also not a fan of the token gay best friend because really, the time has come where we should have moved beyond that kind of tokenistic diversity. And the Asian comment is pretty horrible, really.

    SIGH, I had high hopes for this one, but now I think I will give it a miss :(

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    1. No, it's pretty rare to see in YA, isn't it? Even in MG it's rarely addressed. I just wish it had been more to my tastes, because I'm passionate about it too but... Astrid just made that impossible.
      Yes! Even that was mentioned in this, in reference to the fact Astrid wasn't an enviro-terrorist, or whatever the term used was- basically, she did things safely and in a good way, whereas they did it in a bad way, took it too far. That riled me up, also.

      Exactly. And the "cute in an Asian way" comment got me so. angry. I seriously could not believe it.
      xx

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  7. Oh no, another book that didn't quite work out for you :( I liked the sound about a book being about someone who was so environmentally friendly, because I feel like we need more mention of that theme in our books. But it seems like it didn't work out here. I like when character defend their ideals but they shouldn't be cruel or judgmental to others while doing so...

    I did like your mention of the Amanda Show though! I loved that as a child ^^

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    1. I seem to have had a bit of a run of it, around that time! Things have been going much better now, though- but there are a few more negative ones coming up, I must admit!
      I agree that it's something important and should be added to the list of things that need to be focused on in YA and MG, because it's just not present. And here it was present, but the way it was presented wasn't positive for me.

      Ahaha, remember those days? xx

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  8. This sounds like I would absolutely hate this book so thanks for reading it for me so that I never have to :)

    It's a shame about the SuperFabulousProtagonist. Sometimes I DO think it's intentional though - people trying to remember what they thought teenagers were like but then they become the 2D cheerleader stereotype. I really hated Adorkable for the same reason: she thought she was so super awesome and adult when in fact she was more of a child than most of her grade.

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    1. Not technically reading when you DNF less than halfway through, but eh.
      I guess that makes sense, although it tends to be more in the "mean" character, like the mean-girl cheerleader or whatever it is, not in the protagonist who is, in general cases, made to be appealing. Those traits are more often focused on the characters you're *supposed* to dislike.
      But... you recommended me Adorkable, did you not? LAUREN WHAT IS THIS?

      Delete

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