Monday, July 8, 2013

Review: This Strange and Familiar Place by Rachel Carter

Title: This Strange and Familiar Place (So Close to You #2)
Rachel Carter
Publisher: HarperTeen
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: July 2, 2013

These are the things of which Lydia is now certain:

The Montauk Project has been experimenting with time travel for years.

The Project's subjects are "recruits" from across time, recruits like Wes, Lydia's ally, friend, and love.

The Project is now responsible for the disappearance of two members of her family. . . .

And they're coming for Lydia next.

This thrilling sequel to So Close to You explores how far we'll go to save the people we love—and what happens after you change the future.

My Review

I was a bit "meh" in my review of Rachel Carter's debut novel, So Close to You, but curiosity got the better of me. I requested This Strange and Familiar Place to see if the series would improve. Did it improve? Not really (in my opinion), but this installment in the trilogy was more enjoyable for me, and I may have come to an understanding with the books.

I know what you're thinking - that I've lost my mind. No, I've always been a bit quirky in my book tastes. Let me explain why I liked this book more. (If you want to read So Close to You, now is the time to walk away.) Instead of finding myself irritated with Lydia giving up everything she has - safety, friends and family - in order to chase after the guy, Wes, that she met while messing around with the Montauk Project, I started to understand how much this book may resound with teenagers. Lydia messed up when she tried to change her past in So Close to You, and it cost her her grandfather. Instead of settling for living in the life that was not entirely her own, she chose to try to fix it. I think all teenagers will feel alienated from their own lives, family, friends, etc. and that everything has changed over night. I know I've felt this way personally in high school, walking into the cafeteria and being shunned by those who were my best friends the day before. It sucks big time and is a valid feeling. Though I doubt most of us won't go back in time and screw up our family's past, we can all relate to the feeling of separation. Lydia earned major brownie points with me by not accepting the situation that was handed to her.

Sadly, I didn't really care for Lydia in this book. I had trouble connecting with her because I felt like she was doing everything for the wrong reasons. Instead of wanting to save her grandfather, I think her motivations for EVERYTHING were Wes, her instalove from the first book. He is her End All Be All, no matter how off-putting he tries to be. It is awe-inspiring that she is able to put and keep on her blinders to Him and Only Him in this book. I didn't much care for him because he's of the "it's for your own good" mindset. Puke.

Am I being catty? I don't want to be catty. I did like the book.

I did like the side characters that came into This Strange and Familiar Place while Lydia and Wes were hanging out in the 1980s. Did I not mention that? They were in the eighties for the majority of the book. Through Tag, Nikki, and LJ and their lives on the street, we get to see more of who Wes was before he was recruited for Montauk. They also brought the story itself to another level because Lydia learns that Montauk may know more about her than she thinks. Believe me when I say that I would've lost interest in the story completely without what the street kids brought to the table.

To wrap things up, This Strange and Familiar Place was somewhat of an improvement on the first book and consistent with what I've come to expect from the series. Yes, I had some issues with aspects of the story, but I've ridden the series out through two books and plan to read the third one.
- 3/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.

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