So after seeing it on my Goodreads currently reading list for what feels like ever, I finally got around to finishing this. Which means that I successfully have knocked another book off of my 2015 Reading Challenge list- the book I started but never finished.
I originally started this book in December and literally about half way through I put it down and didn't pick it up again until now. There's mixed feelings on this one and some definite ups and downs, points I like and points I really don't so this may be a long one folks, but here we go.
18 year old Darcy writes a novel and finds herself travelling through her first big trip into the world of publication. Meanwhile her character Lizzie lives the life Darcy has wrote her. Darcy follows a path of personal ups and downs living a year of firsts: first time living on her own, first time publishing, first loves, first heartbreaks. Lizzie lives through a life changing terrorist attack that changes her life and death in a way she's never expected.
I gave these nearly 600 pages a 3/5 for lots of reasons, which was a little disappointing. I'll start by saying I became interested in this book after watching Benjaminoftomes talk about it in one of his videos on Youtube. The idea is really promising, really interesting and I had high hopes and if I was younger this might have done it for me, but at 22 it really didn't.
For the first half of the book Darcy's personal story is nothing short of boring. In some perfect world maybe everything happening to her would be possible, but it's all just a little too good to be true. She participates in what is obviously Nanowrimo and her 'wrote in 30 days novel' is sent to a publishing company. She gets a massive advance and they think she's going to be mega popular with her first book. Not realistic. If Westerfeld had toned it down a little bit then this could have been a believable story. 30 day novel, fixed up and sent to publishing, they take it on she gets some sort of advance and on and on. But it wouldn't have been as glamorous.
Ultimately, I only wanted to read every other chapter in the first half - as in Lizzie's story. Then the second half happened and things picked up a little bit on Darcy's end. However, at that point I was getting over Lizzie's situation and was starting to find it a little repetitive. With about a quarter of the book left, both stories heated up for a decent finale. Overall I think I would have enjoyed the actual book Darcy was writing as a full, proper read on it's own. At times I feel like Darcy's stories muddied it up a bit. It almost would have been a better choice to sandwich large sections of each instead of chapter by chapter, I feel like I might have connected quicker and maybe not put this down.
The characters I thought, were very contrasting. Darcy seemed to wait for things to be handed to her where Lizzie wanted to take action and solve things on her own. This did make it a little difficult for me to set into a 'deep read' and live in the story, which paired with the chapter situation I already mentioned made me want to move on from this book with no urge to pick it up.
This is a really frustrating book to rate as it is basically two drastically different novels binded together. 'Afterworlds' (Darcy's novel), is a story I would pick up and devour. 'Afterworlds' (Westerfeld's story of Darcy) would have made a cute contemporary that I probably would have looked past and never had a second thought about it.
In the end, the writing was done well and it's a beautiful book and maybe one day I'll read it again. But because I'm so split, I'm giving this book a middle score of 3/5. Next time around I might just read all the black sections and then all of the white and see if that changes my opinion any. Until that time I'll be moving on to another. My next read will be The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.