Friday, January 30, 2015

A Stranger Thing by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal

Series: The Ever-Expanding Universe #2
Genres: Science Fiction, Humor, Young Adult
Release Date: November 12th, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Library

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In this witty, adventurous sequel to Mothership, which Publishers Weekly called “a whole lot of fun” Elvie Nara is back on earth—but her life (including her new baby) is still pretty out there!

Pregnancy was pretty rough for sixteen-year-old Elvie Nara, what with the morning sickness, constant food cravings, and the alien race war she found herself in the middle of. But if she thought giving birth to an extraterrestrial’s baby would be the hard part, she was sorely mistaken.

After Elvie somehow has a baby girl, the always-male Almiri completely wig out. Suddenly Elvie’s supposed allies have shipped her—along with her father, her best friend, Ducky, and her maybe-boyfriend, boneheaded Almiri commando Cole Archer—off to a remote “retention facility” (aka alien jail) in Antarctica. Talk about cold. But things really get complicated when a new group of hybrid aliens arrive with information that sends Elvie’s world spinning. Before long, Elvie is trekking across the bottom of the Earth with a band of friends and frenemies to uncover the secrets of her own origin. Will Elvie ever be able to convince the Almiri that a conspiracy to conquer the planet is a greater threat than a sixteen-year-old girl and a newborn who won’t stop crying?
This book was not a large improvement over it’s predecessor and I’d go so far to say that it was actually slightly worse but there is something about this series that makes you want to keep reading in spite of its shallowness. Sometimes we just really need is a nice fluffy read that doesn’t make us ask all the important questions and still manages to entertain us. 

Most of A Stranger Thing takes place over a short period of time and I think that’s one of the things that works for this book. Its fast pace makes it so that the reader just wants to continue reading without any interruptions. The pace makes it easy for the book to suck you in.

Elvie remains the fun witty character she was in the previous book but with the added advantage of being more mature because of her new mommy status. Elvie is a fantastic character to read about. Its just so much fun to watch her deal with problems, both external and internal.

One of her internal conflicts in this book is her relationship with Cole and I find that I like that she is questioning if she wants something long term with him. She loves him but considering how he can be completely irresponsible and immature at times, it’s nice that she isn’t going all ‘I love him and we’ll work though everything’. She has a kid to think about now and is Cole really ready for the kind of responsibility that comes with being a parent?

On that note, I am quite interested in the potential growth Cole might undergo. I’d like to see his character develop from the dumb jock he seems to be. He is a nice change from the usual ‘misunderstood jock’ stereotype but at the same time, I really want to see another side of him, something that’ll make me really connect with his character instead of just laughing at his antics. Elvie deserves better and loving her doesn’t quite make up for the fact that he can be so silly at times. Especially considering the seriousness of the situations the two tend to find themselves in.

That said, I don’t want a love triangle and I don’t think the author will introduce one in the final book (that would just kind of be pointless). What I want is to see crucial character development.

Something else I had a problem with was how certain characters were introduced in this book and after the initial ‘get to know you’, they weren't brought up until the ‘twist’ moments. One of the characters is there with Elvie for a good part of the book but they are almost completely forgotten about until necessary to the plot. What were they doing all that time?!?!?!?! 

There are also some twists in this book and while none of them are unpredictable, I have to say, they weren’t all that bad either. They weren’t in your face obvious and even if I saw them coming,  I think the author did a good job executing them.

If you were to look closer at the plot, you would find that it’s actually not perfect (SURPRISE) but at the same time, it works for this story. I liked what was happening. I liked the way the author introduced us to new concepts and I liked how the author developed the story.

This book is not even close to perfect but in spite of all of its fault it’s such a fun and likeable read and if you want something really fluffy, I’d encourage you to pick the series up (so long as you’re prepared to deal with certain annoying things).

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