Friday, 14 February 2014

Review ~ Edna in the Desert by Maddy Lederman

Edna in the DesertPaperback received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 9th September 2013

Publisher: eLectio Publishing

Edna is a precocious troublemaker wreaking havoc at her Beverly Hills school. Her therapist advocates medication, but her parents come up with an alternative cure: Edna will spend the summer in the desert with her grandparents. Their remote cabin is cut off from cell phone service, Internet and television. Edna’s determined to rebel until she meets an older local boy and falls in love for the first time. How can she get to know him from the edge of nowhere?

My Opinion
When I was asked to review this book the author told me it was YA. It sounded like a fun, easy and interesting read and the zero technology aspect interested me as I thought it was going to be more about the relationship and Edna developing. However having finished 
Edna in the Desert, I can say that I was shocked to find the main character (Edna) was only 13 and that this book is definitely more middle grade than YA.

For me the overall concept was good and I liked the idea, however there are a few issues that have torn my opinion. You see, I'm not a fan of books with characters under the age of 16, especially if they involve romance as I just can't connect with the characters as they're either too juvenile or over mature. This was one of the main things that I struggled with when reading Edna in the Desert as I felt Edna would have been better placed around 16. I just felt 13 was just too young and not relateable for a young adult audience, especially with the way she acted at times.

Her age also led to problems with the relationship aspect. Johnny was 17 and although the age gap isn't that big, I just found it strange. I could understand Edna's feelings for him as a crush and I thought that was crafted and developed well to make it believable. However, for it to be reciprocated, for me, was just weird and it felt awkward to read. I'm not saying that kind I thing doesn't happen, and Johnny ended it before things got out of control, but personally I'm not a fan of it in books as the relationship isn't mature/deep enough or it's over before it starts. 

The other thing I struggled with in this book is that it's very dense. I like books that have a lot of speech to move the pace along quickly and although 
Edna in the Desert moves along very quickly as the chapters are short, I found the pages of paragraphs and rare speech a little tough to concentrate on for a long time. There was just too much narration for me. I could understand that there wasn't much for Edna to do in there desert and that there weren't many people but I would have liked more conversations with those that were around and for them to be developed more. Generally they were only a few sentences before long chunks of dense text appeared again. 

However, saying that, I did like was Edna's growth. Her development throughout her stay was written well and she changed steadily. It was a gradual process and I liked that things with her Grandparents ended well--even if I would have liked more details on her Grandpa's history. I thought Edna matured well but like I said previously I think she would have been better placed around the 16 year old mark (unless the author changes the blurb so people know).

Edna in the Desert was a quick easy read. Although I had some problems with it--which I think was mostly down to the description not giving much away and the ages coming as a shock--there was something about it that kept me reading. I wanted to see how everything turned out for her in the end. If you like middle grade fiction this may be for you.

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