Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Sixth Form


by Tom Dolby

Goodreads (www.goodreads.com) has this great program in which you can enter to win copies of pre-release books. There is no obligation, just the hope that once you have finished reading it, you will write a review about the book on Goodreads and share with your fellow readers. Quite a few authors are members of Goodreads as well, and will offer their manuscript up to the amateur critiques in order to find out how their book will do in the general public.

"The Sixth Form" one of these such novels. I won it through the Goodreads Giveaway and began to read it as soon as it arrived on my front porch. I must say, honestly, it wasn't one of the books that I really wanted to win, but I gave it a fair shot. The description sounded intriguing, so I cracked it open.

By the second chapter I was bored. The story was so incredibly predictable, I secretly felt in the back of my mind that I could just stop reading and still know how the story ends. But I soldiered on, hoping that maybe I was wrong and it would get better. Unfortunately, I was not wrong. Just what I thought was going to happen, happened. Both Todd and Ethan did exactly what I expected them to do. Their characters were flat and 2-dimensional and I had no compassion for either of them.

The writing style didn't even redeem the book. It was dry and unemotional, and Mr. Dolby did a lot of "telling" and not "showing". I know that was a big thing in all of my writing classes; SHOW the reader what happens, don't TELL them. There's a difference, and I don't think this author understood what it was. I felt very separated and distant from the characters and toward the end I was just reading to get to the final page. Also, I felt like the time sequences were off. Especially toward the end, when there were four weeks left of school...but the author kept saying "a few weeks later," "a few weeks later," "a few weeks later,"...it felt like we went through four months in that last four weeks of school. This was throughout the whole book, and kind of threw me off a bit.

I can't say I was disappointed in the book, because I was skeptical from the beginning. It's just too bad that it didn't change my expectations. I really was hoping it would. Now I'm looking forward to moving on, preferably to a book I will enjoy.




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