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snark (reading) lady

In my free time, I snark things. In my freer time, I read things.

Currently reading

Night Film
Marisha Pessl
The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3)
Philip Pullman
Mark Slouka
The Lord of the Rings
J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien
League of Strays - L.B. Schulman I received this as an ARC through Netgalley which is the only reason I forced myself to read this to the bitter, bitter end. These opinions are my own and are based on the book I read every word of. That said:This was bad. The premise in and of itself wasn't terrible. I've seen reviews arguing the fact that a group of kids retaliating against bullies is, essentially, a group of bullies. Yes. And that's the point. Our main character Charlotte subjects herself to this bullying because of her deeper need to belong to something. She has to (slowly. painfully.) come to this conclusion herself. That's a legitimate plot. Unfortunately, it was done artlessly.The premise of the book is thrown at the reader immediately. Charlotte has received an invitation to meet people she doesn't know, in the middle of the night for unknown reasons. Yeah, not buying that. I don't care how lonely you are.There, Charlie meets two other girls who received similar invitations. They are greeted by a young, handsome man named Kade who proves that he's essentially been stalking their entire lives. He greets one girl in this manner:Zoe Carpenter. Let’s see, mom divorced Zoe’s stepfather last year. Well, technically, he was number three. She lives in a home of revolving men, but the only one her mom really loves is Jack… Daniel’s."Not only is that terribly clunky, it's annoying and mean. Who would say that upon meeting someone, or really, who would stand for that? So far, what exactly am I supposed to like about this book?As the story goes on, and the League of Strays is born, my issues become more clear:- All of the characters are unsympathetic. The author tries very hard to get us to relate to them. Oh, one girl got a bad grade and one girl has an alcoholic mother and our main character is bullied. All terrible things, but I cannot feel bad for them when they are bullying in turn. I don't think the author took into account that by making her main character bullies, she's losing the audience's ability to feel for them. I want all of the to be caught. I wanted all of them to be punished. Honestly, I wanted all of them to be punched in the face. But most of all, I wanted to stop reading.- There were no redeeming qualities in the characters. You don't have to like all the characters you read. I know that. Charlotte's main flaw was her inability to stand up for herself. However, she had nothing to balance this. I suppose one could say her small, small glimmer of a conscious was present, but that was simply negated by her inability to stand up for herself. She had nothing else going for her. She was a liar, she treated her very sweet and loving parents like crap, she was easily lead, etc, etc, etc. Sure, she may learn a lesson in the final 2-3 chapters, but what's supposed to get me through the first 30+?Just an example:"Sidney Bishop told Nicole Haines that Mark Lawrence had beat up his girlfriend, who was recovering at Glenwood Community Hospital with a broken hand. I prayed it was true, because that would mean our plan for Dave had nothing to do with this latest development."OUR MAIN CHARACTER JUST WISHED DOMESTIC TYPE VIOLENCE ON SOMEONE. I don't want to read about this girl, hence I didn't want to read this book.- Kade Harlin. Terrible character. I'm not sure if the author was trying for misdirection when it came to him, but she failed. It's clear from page one, when he insults each and everyone of these strangers, that he's a horrible person with, again, no redeeming qualities. He's a villain masquerading as a love interest and he's very present in the novel. There are no breaks from him making the story unenjoyable to read. The charisma and charm we're told about again and again actually come across as creepiness.- The writing was basic at best, incredibly clunky at worst. Charlotte didn't not read like a high school senior. She read like a middle schooler.- The "prank" against Richie's bully, where they set him up to look gay, truly made me sick to my stomach. I don't care what lesson you think you're characters eventually learn, think about what you are insinuating when you choose to "punish" someone by making them seem gay. Really? And if you ask me, it wasn't clear enough in the end how WRONG homophobia is. The message at the end was, "escape it. Find somewhere where there is less of it." I think it was sloppily handled and weighed down an already struggling book.Believe it or not, towards the very end when Charlotte FINALLY started having a back bone and standing up for herself, the book improved exponentially. Too bad it was too little too late. Perhaps it was only a perceived improvement because I was happy to have finally made it to the end.I did my best to give League of Strays a more than fair chance. I gave it to the last page. Unfortunately, the characters were not worth reading about and the plot was angering.I would not recommend this book to anyone I know.