Book Review: Cold Calls by Charles Benoit

cold callsCold Calls by Charles Benoit

Publisher: Clarion Books

Genre: Mystery and Young Adult

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Pages: 288 (Hardcover)

good good

Three high school students-Eric, Shelly, and Fatima-have one thing in common:

“I know your secret.”

Each one is blackmailed into bullying specifically targeted schoolmates by a mysterious caller who whispers from their cell phones and holds carefully guarded secrets over their heads. But how could anyone have obtained that photo, read those hidden pages, uncovered this buried past? Thrown together, the three teens join forces to find the stranger who threatens them-before time runs out and their shattering secrets are revealed . . .

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, Clarion Books for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

This is probably the only story I’ve read where I really enjoyed the third person telling. It fits the story really well and the mysterious caller isn’t easy to figure out and I liked that. My biggest problem are the characters and how one-sided they are. It seems that their secrets are their whole lives but even that isn’t well described. I also really liked the moral lesson of how the characters face right and wrong and decide which is which.

Cold Calls has a very exciting beginning but almost instantly in the middle, everything starts to slow down and I felt so damn bored. It’s not intense and the mysterious caller, for the most part leaves them alone during this time and I quickly lost interest in the story all together. However, this isn’t the only reason why my interest left, it was also because of the characters who are, some of the most boring people I’ve ever met.  It seems that they don’t have lives other than their secrets. There isn’t much of a back story of how they were before this secret came to be, especially with Shelly and Eric. What was his relationship with April like? We barely get anything except that they have secrets that they don’t want anyone else to know about. The reason for the revenge seemed really silly and I had a hard time finding it realistic.

Like I said before, I think what gave this story a tense, gritty feel for me is the writing and the fact that it’s in third person which I actually cringe when first realizing it when starting a book. It’s awkward and hard to relate to characters but I really enjoyed it here. I liked how the mystery caller is played out in this. It’s not the typical way to find a stalker and I liked that. It sure had me guessing.

Nonetheless, Cold Calls isn’t a bad book it’s just boring after the initial first pages and it’s not scary whatsoever. Instead of feeling scared, I felt like I was watching a really tacky movie about high schoolers. However I still recommend this to anyone who’s looking for something light that has more to do with karma than anything else.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds
2.5 Mess Up Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.

Burn For Burn By Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

13406425Burn For Burn By Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Genre: Contemporary, realistic fiction

Release Date: September 18, 2012

Pages: 368 (hard cover)

Burn For Burn (Burn For Burn # 1)

Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.


Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she’s ready to make her pay.Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. And she’s ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won’t stop until they each had a taste.

(My Opinion)

Burn For Burn is not a great start to this series, but I don’t dislike this book either. Told from the perspectives of Lillia, Kat, and Mary. Even though the idea for this isn’t very unique, it’s really interesting and fun to read about the pranks the girls pull on people. Most of the characters are stiff and sort of hard to relate to while others are okay, better in some ways than others. My favourite character is Alex because he gets pretty embarrassed throughout the book by a lot of the other characters but still tries to see the good in people.

I find all of the main characters annoying either from one point to another or all of the time. Mary is the worst because she’s constantly whining and complaining about how her life hasn’t changed, Reeve doesn’t notice her, and that she isn’t pulling her weight with the pranks. The way Marie is at the end of the book is…Odd. I can’t put a finger on why, but the ending is kind of rushed and choppy to me.  Another thing that I don’t like is the quick fix relationship between Kat and Lillia because it doesn’t seem like something two realistic teens would do. They go from complete (for the most part) strangers to best friends again, who tell each other everything. Maybe for second graders this is realistic, but not for teenage girls.

Burn For Burn has some good qualities about it as well, like the writing style. It’s smooth with great detail about the island and just enough flashbacks to keep it interesting. The chapters are really short, it’s easy to read 100 pages without realizing it because the transitioning from each character is so smooth. There are different perspectives in the story which always keeps a book interesting and fun to read about. For covers, this one is so  beautiful. It’s very sophisticated and secretive and I cannot stop looking at it.

Overall, not a bad read. It’s light enough to finish in a day or two but heavy enough to linger in your mind for a few days.

three ah 3.5 Dreamy Clouds

Recommendations

 Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington from Book’d Out

Review: What Happens Next By Colleen Clayton from Justin’s Book Blog

Review: From What I Can Remember by Stacy Kramer from Early Nerd Special

Review: Lucid By Adrienne Stoltz and Ron Bass from Birth Of A New Witch

Review: Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara from 365 Days Of Reading