Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery
Published by Hyperion Books on September 11th 2012
Page Count: 326
Genre(s): YA, contemporary, romance, paranormal
Format: Hardcover, borrowed from library
Would I recommend? Nope, definitely not. I suppose the first half of the book was kind of enjoyable, but there were just too many aspects in the latter half that left me rolling my eyes and wanting to throw this book across the room in frustration. The writing style is good, but nothing special. The characters were boring. The plot was predictable. The concept itself was unique, but poorly executed.
My Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
An inspiring, bittersweet love story about making every day count.
Bryce remembers it like it was yesterday. The scent of chlorine. The blinding crack and flash of pain. Blood in the water.
When she wakes up in the hospital, all Bryce can think of is her disastrous Olympic diving trial. But everything is different now. Bryce still feels seventeen, so how can her little sister be seventeen, too? Life went on without her while Bryce lay in a coma for five years. Her best friend and boyfriend have just graduated from college. Her parents barely speak. And everything she once dreamed of doing—winning a gold medal, traveling the world, falling in love—seems beyond her reach.
But Bryce has changed too, in seemingly impossible ways. She knows things she shouldn’t. Things that happened while she was asleep. Things that haven’t even happened yet. During one luminous summer, as she comes to understand that her dreams have changed forever, Bryce learns to see life for what it truly is: extraordinary.
This book had a lot of potential. Although I had never heard of it before the cover caught my eye in the library a few days ago, I was still looking forward to reading about this unique concept. I wanted so much to love this book…and while I did enjoy parts of it, I had several glaring issues that were too big to overlook.
The writing style was pretty good. It wasn’t crazy-beautiful or anything, but it wasn’t bad. This was one thing I was a bit worried about going into this novel because I felt like the writing in the first chapter felt a bit forced and unnatural, but it definitely improved over the course of the novel. I did feel like the dialogue was a bit flat and contrived, but that might have just been because of my huge dislike for the characters.
This leads me to one of my biggest issues: the characters. This aspect bugged me so much! When I’m reading a book, I want to read about realistic, flawed, captivating characters. I want to meet characters that I can identify with and relate to their struggles. This, my friends, is the exact opposite of Bryce, our main character. Bryce is beautiful, smart, athletic, social, friendly, and funny. Bryce is also perfect in every way and all the guys like her. She has no problem fitting in to a crowd and appears to have no insecurities whatsoever.
Otherwise known as, Bryce is boring.
And it’s not like Bryce is the only character like this. Her best friend Gabby is described as being beautiful, charismatic, intelligent, and popular. Both love interests are depicted as being sweet, smart, funny, and having gorgeous abs. It might be just me, but honestly….do you really think this is realistic?
I THINK NOT.
Another issue I had was that this book seemed extremely…..unorganized, to say the least. Between Bryce recovering from her accident, discovering her so-called “paranormal powers,” navigating her tricky love life (oh my gosh, two guys love me at the same time! What’s a girl to do?), fulfilling her high school bucket list, and weird uses of symbolism that I STILL don’t understand….I felt like this book had way too many concepts going on, with none of these concepts actually being explored and explained to their full potential.
The plot was also shockingly predictable. I mean, normally predictability isn’t a huge issue for me because it doesn’t take away much from my enjoyability of the book, but there is a point where it REALLY gets on my nerves. When I’m able to predict everything from the cliche dialogue to the major plot twists, I know there’s something wrong.
Another thing that bugged me were all the diving references. Like, I get that Bryce’s greatest passion is diving and I DO want to learn more about diving, but when Bryce is comparing her emotions to “drowning in a pool and having no one to pull her out” every other page, it does get a bit tiresome.
OH, and the ending? DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE ENDING. I can’t really tell you what happens if you haven’t read it yet because, you know, spoilers…..but just know that it caused me to physically throw the book across the room in frustration. And guys, trust me: I NEVER throw books.
A unique and original concept, but poorly executed. A fast-paced and somewhat-enjoyable read if you can get past the cliche plot twists and 2-dimensional characters. I read this book in one sitting in the span of about 3 hours….so if you’re looking for a book purely to get back on track of your Goodreads challenge, this book might be for you! Otherwise, don’t bother.
Rating: 1.5/5 Stars
Have you read Anything But Ordinary? What did you think? I’d love to hear what you guys have to say in the comments!