Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review: Saving Zoë by Alyson Noël

Saving Zoë by Alyson Noël
Goodreads description:

It’s been one year since the brutal murder of her older sister, Zoë, and fifteen-year-old Echo is still reeling from the aftermath. Her parents are numb, her friends are moving on, and the awkward start to her freshman year proves she’ll never live up to her sister’s memory. Until Zoë’s former boyfriend Marc shows up with Zoë’s diary. At first Echo’s not interested, doubting there’s anything in there she doesn’t already know. But when curiosity prevails, she starts reading, becoming so immersed in her sister’s secret world, their lives begin to blur, forcing Echo to uncover the truth behind Zoë’s life so that she can start to rebuild her own.

First sentence: They say there are five stages of grief: 1.Denial 2.Anger 3.Bargaining 4.Depression 5.Acceptance.

My rating: 1 out of 5 stars

I hate writing bad reviews. Hate, hate, hate, especially since Alyson Noël is an established author. But I don't know what else to do -  there was absolutley nothing I enjoyed about Saving Zoë. By the end, I was annoyed by everything and just wanted to get it over with.

My first problem is the writing and style. Mainly, it isn't even written like a novel, more like the way an adult imagines a 15-year-old would speak, which annoyed me - yes, we say "like" too often, but writing a novel like that doesn't make the voice authentic, just annoying. Sometimes, though, in between that type of writing, there are a few passages attempting to sound deep, which just doesn't fit. Zoë's diary entries are just as annoying - that's just not how you write in a diary. As far as I know, when you write in a diary, you write about your feelings, and you don't use dialogue and long descriptions. There is almost no difference between the normal narrative and the diary entries, except things like writing "cuz" instead of "because". To me, it doesn't even seem realistic that Zoë kept a diary in the first place since she hates reading and anything academic.

The characters are also annoying. All of them have one or two characteristics - Abby is the bossy one, Jenay the optimistic, fun one, Echo the smart one, Zoë the outgoing, wild one, etc. - but none of them have actual personalities, no individual quirks whatsoever. They all just personify that one characteristic. For the characterization, the author only used telling, and no showing. I couldn't relate to Echo at all - I didn't even get any giref from her. Mainly, she doesn't seem like she misses Zoë at all, and then there are two or three passages about the "gaping hole" Zoë left in Echo's heart. Usually, I love reading about dealing with grief, but I didn't get anything like that from this novel - not from Echo and not from her parents. Marc is the only character with a bit of a personality, but I didn't really get his relationship with Echo either. Echo starts going out with her dead sister's boyfriend, but never once feels guilty about it.

There is no development, character growth or suspense; there isn't even much of a plot. That's not saying I need books to have loads of action - I love books that are mainly about inner processes and character growth - but since there is none of that, either... For me, the book never really got started. What Echo tells us about her life in the beginning has little to do with her sister's death, just teenage life. I thought the story might pick up once she starts reading Zoë's diary, but there's almost nothing in there the reader doesn't already know: only that she was killed by an Internet predator. The reader just gets to read about another boring teenage life, just with a different voice.

I didn't really get the point of the whole novel - it didn't make me feel anything, and it has no message other than warning readers of Internet predators  - which, honestly, I think is kind of stupid - most of us who use sites like that aren't as stupid as the characters in Saving Zoë and know not to meet up with random people sending creepy messages. The ending didn't really do anything for me either - other than what happens to Jason, there is no relevation. I'm not even sure you can call it a relevation - the guy is creepy from the beginning on.

I don't know what else to say about Saving Zoë. I just didn't enjoy it - writing, plot, characters, none of it. Obviously, I don't recommend it, but I've read a few reviewers who like the same types of books as I do give this one positive reviews, so decide for yourself whether or not to read this book. I hope you enjoy it more than I did.


  1. After such a negative review I'm not if I still want this but I think I'll try it and see if I like it any better. :/

    ComaCalm's Corner

  2. Well I wasn't going to read this one anyway, but now I for sure won't.

  3. I haven't read any Alyson Noel books (though I have a few) but was wondering why I never see any reviews other then her Ever series (or is it Immortals? Whatever, you know what I mean). I guess if I do read a book by her this shouldn't be the first one.


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