Ely's actually doing a book review?
weren't book reviews the main reason she started this blog? And can't we count the amount of reviews she's done...on one hand?
I've been a major fail concerning blogging and book reviews. Seriously, you can look it up in your arithmetic book: book reviews + blogging = Ely's a fail. I smart. I can do the maths.
Annnnnyways... (I didn't sleep enough, if you can't tell...) since all I do these days is nap and Netflix and read, I thought I'd review a few of my new friends. My reading habits are bizarre these days...I usually just roam through the YA section and pick up intriguing titles. Today, however, I'm going to talk about a book that has a title that didn't really appeal to me at all...and neither did the cover (I'll admit it. I'm a huge cover-judger. Sue me.)
I'm always up for a modern day play on Shakespeare, and even though I find Romeo and Juliet depressing (and yet humorous at the same time) and definitely not my thing, Like No Other intrigued me from the moment I started reading the book jacket. A Hasidic girl, forbidden from the world she's never been curious about, falling in love with a nerdy West Indian guy? That sure doesn't sound like a boring love story. At least, I hoped it wouldn't be.
|me, about most romance books.|
Thankfully, it wasn't. I have a few bones to pick with it, but overall, I really loved this book. First off, it was the perfect size. I am of the opinion that romance can be too shoved together and can also be waaaaaaaaaayy too dragged out. Yeah, Devorah and Jaxon fell in love within a few days, but hey, that's a few hours on Romeo and Juliet! I enjoyed the alternating voices, which gave you a chance to get to know each character--and the way their stories wove together was very well done, in my opinion.
I loved Devorah. She started out as a timid Jewish girl, who strongly ignored her secret wish to fly away from her boring world. She wasn't a boring white wall of a character, but she also wasn't your stereotypical rebellious teenage protagonist. She didn't want to admit she wanted to escape. You got to witness her slow progress as she moved on from her timidity and found her voice. It was a very beautiful transition.
Jaxon...I honestly don't know what to think of Jaxon. While Devorah's character was smooth, his was rough. The idea was that he was a nerdy kid who was awkward around girls. Oh my, I thought, this combination will either be hilarious or irk me to death. Unfortunately, I didn't really see much of Jaxon's nerdiness or his awkwardness. Yeah, there were a few moments at the beginning, but even that seem forced or exagerrated. That was one of my main pet peeves.
|too much of this...|
|...and not enough of this.|
My other bone to pick was how one-dimensional a lot of the characters were. I know it's almost impossible to create a completely deep cast, but when you look at Devorah, Jaxon's mom, and even Rose, it's easy to look at some of the others and go: "...meh." I didn't not like them, but I wished there was a little more meat to their stories, you know?
Except for Jacob. Jacob can go fall in a hole and die.
Also...can I just praise the whole "world-building" aspect of this book? Yeah, I know a book set in New York won't have that much world-building needed, but the whole Hasidic culture was portrayed tastefully. I learned more than I thought I would, and it was enough that I didn't feel like I was having random facts shoved down my throat. I also loved that Jaxon was just as clueless as I was, and that his desperate search for information about Devorah's life was also my desperate search.
Finally...the ending was freaking on point. Even though Romeo and Juliet's ending is accurate and necessary for the story to make its point, I'm still not that big of a fan (mostly because of the level of stupidity in that scene...) But I also didn't really think Devorah and Jaxon should have a happy ending. There weren't enough pages left in the book for that to be plausible, and it also didn't make sense to me at all. After all they'd been through, making things right after their mistakes, they'd just launch right back into the same old thing? Nuh-uh. So I appreciated the happiness in the ending, without the happy ever after. It was perfect.
|and sometimes non-romantic happiness. Weird.|
Would I recommend this book? Heck yeah. Is it a summer time read? ....not really. I think it suits mid-autumn better, even though it is set in August, but that's just because it makes me want to curl up in my blankets with some delicious tea while it's raining outside. It's just that kind of book. And if it means anything, I finished this book literally six hours after I picked it off the shelf. Yeah. It pulled me in, and I'm definitely re-reading it before I return it.
You could even say...it's Like No Other.
I'll let myself out.