Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: Hooked by Catherine Greenman

Title: Hooked
Author: Catherine Greenman
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release date: August 9th 2011
Pages: 276
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
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Thea Galehouse has always known how to take care of herself. With a flighty club-owner mom and a standoffish, recovering-alcoholic dad, Thea has made her own way in her hometown of New York, attending the prestigious and competitive Stuyvesant High School. But one chat with Will, a handsome and witty senior, and she's a goner—completely hooked on him and unable to concentrate on anything else. Always worried that she loves Will more than he loves her, Thea is pleasantly surprised when their romance weathers his move to college and Will goes out of his way to involve her in his life. But then, Thea misses a period. And that starts Thea and Will on a wild ride that neither of them could have possibly prepared for. When they decide to keep the baby, their concerned parents chip in what they can to keep Will in school and give both teenagers a comfortable place to raise their child. But when a freak accident leaves Thea shaken and threatens to upend their little family altogether, Thea is forced to turn to the last place she would have chosen for comfort: her stiff, uncompromising father.
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

This books really makes me wish I wasn't too lazy to read the first few pages of books before buying them. After reading about a page, I was almost positive that this book would not be a good read for me. And it wasn't - the book frustrated me to no end.

Hooked starts out describing how Thea meets Will and how their relationship develops. And from the beginning on, their relationship didn't work for me. Thea and Will are the definition of insta-love; they meet, and bam - they're in love. There's no chemistry, nothing they have in common, nothing they really talk about - they're just in love, or so we're told. From what we see, their relationship is mainly physical - and I don't mean that it's addressed as an issue how most of it is physical; that's just the way it is. I didn't like Will at all - he didn't seem "handsome and witty" to me, he just seemed creepy. I know, that sounds mean, but I just got creepy vibes from him. Thea got very dependent on Will, which is another pet-peeve of mine. She has no other interests and stops caring about school - it's all about her boyfriend. And again, something like that not being addressed as an issue but just being, you know, there, frustrates me.

I thought Thea was an okay character at the beginning - she's a little boring, but not terrible. (Well, except for the fact that she doesn't wash her hair. I'm sorry, but... ew.) Once Thea finds out she's pregnant, she really started frustrating me. The most basic thing you'd expect from a teenage pregnancy book would be that it discusses the different options there are for people in that position, right? But that's not really the case in Hooked. First, Thea is supposed to get an abortion, but she doesn't go through with it, and then she wants to keep the baby. Her keeping the baby is fine, and necessary for the story, but it bugged me how she didn't even consider adoption. We're pretty far removed from Thea's character throughout and don't get too much insight into her thoughts, so maybe that's why, but I felt like we got no information whatsoever about why she decided to keep the baby.

In the book's defense, I did like the family set-up; it's very unique. I wish Hooked had focused more on that, since I think Thea's parents could have been very interesting to read about. But the story focuses on Thea and the baby, so we didn't get to explore the one storyline I would have been interested in.

The pacing is a little strange. There are weird time jumps, and I just cannot understand the reasoning behind why some scenes are so detailed while others aren't. I mean, that's normal - there are always a few scenes that the author describes in detail and then some passages summarizing the time in between; that's how novels work. But how the author decided which scenes to describe in detail and which ones to skip made no sense to me. For example, the scene of the birth, which I'd consider important and a rather dramatic scene, is shortened to one small paragraph, while there are descriptions of Thea's crocheting that are pages long, which bored me to no end. I'm sorry if this sounds offensive, but it felt almost like the reasoning behind the pacing was to minimize action and drama and to maximize my boredom with the description of things that I just didn't care about, like Thea's crocheting.

Towards the end, the book does get a little better. I liked reading about how Thea tries to support the baby, and the issues she faces as such a young mother. But those were just the last 30 or 40 pages or so, so they couldn't save the book for me.

There are quite a few things that frustrated me about Hooked, but they alone don't explain my dislike for this book. Hooked just... GAH! It made me want to rip my hair out; it made me so angry, and I'm not even sure why. Maybe it's that often, when I'm not liking a book, I'm enjoying not liking that book. Does that make any sense? I don't know, I often just like thinking about why I don't like a book. And in Hooked, I didn't even have that - I just wanted it to stop. I kept wanting to stop reading; I finished the book, but really just because I'm weird and have this thing about needing to finish every book I start.


  1. I have to say...well done for finishing the book!!
    Sounds really bad to me, and i was even considering reading it. I did have worries about it and you have confirmed everything that i thought would happen. Insta-love...meh, so annoying!! Thank you for this thorough review! I think i will give it a miss, they could have made this book so much better :(

  2. Too bad it turned out you didn't like it! I know lots of people don't like reading about teen pregnancy, but it doesn't bother me at all. In fact, if it's well done, it can be a great contemporary.

    I know what you mean about instalove - in this case, you'd expect the romance to be amazing and real because they decide to keep the baby and be a family. I would love to read about a teen couple who tries it out because they really love each other, they've been together a long time, and see how the baby affects the relationship.

    I'm so sorry you didn't like it! I know you love issue contemp - I think Megan McCafferty has a book about teen pregnancy which I think people liked:)

    1. To clarify, I know you didn't hate it because of the topic, but because of the plot and characters, but I was just thinking about how many people immediately hate books about teen pregnancy. Hope that was clear before!!

    2. I love teenage pregnancy books, too! If they're done well, they can be awesome - this one just... wasn't. And yeah, it was clear :)

      Yes! I always dislike insta-love, but this set-up made me hate it even more, because this way, their decision to keep the baby is even less justified. (I don't mean that keeping a baby if you're pregnant as a teacher is generally wrong; I just don't like how it was immediately decided they'd keep it in Hooked.)

      Do you mean Megan McCafferty's Bumped series? If yes, that's a dystopian, but I have it on my wishlist anyways :p

      I hadn't heard of That Time I Joined the Circus or Colleen Hoover's books - they all sounds awesome! Aah, you're making my wishlist explode with all these awesome recs!!

    3. I think I got the wrong author - sorry! I'm trying to find the book on Goodreads now.

      There are two! Small Damages by Beth Kephart and Fingerprints of you by Kristen-Paige Madonia.

      I haven't read either, but they seem really good:)

    4. Of course Holly Cupala's Tell Me a Secret is about teen pregnancy - and I trust her to really create amazing characters and a real relationship:)

    5. I can't wait for Fingerprints of You - I pre-ordered it ages ago, that's how excited I am... partly because that cover is so gorgeous :p I have Small Damages on my wishlist, too.

      And yes, Tell Me a Secret will probably be better than Hooked, I'm hoping! I downloaded it as an audiobook because it was free for a while, but then I only listened to the first few chapters - I don't really do adiobooks. I'm gonna have to buy a book-version at some point, though :)

    6. I'm like you about audiobooks - when it comes to books I want to read them, take my time, imagine the narrator's voice. I think if you're going to listen to an audiobook, it's better if you read the book first so you don't get influenced.

    7. Yeah, I never really listen to adiobooks; I just downloaded that one because it was free and wanted to give it a try. But the voice that narrates Tell Me a Secret got on my nerves, so I stopped :p I like imagining all of that myself, too.

  3. I just saw the cover reveal for an amazing new contemporary!

    It's called That Time I Joined the Circus by JJ Howard - it looks so incredible. Really a wonderful contemporary:)

    Also for New Adult, people are raving about Slammed and Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover I haven't read them but they sound like they have a great romance and good family drama:)

  4. Arr. This book sounds like it could be AMAZING but it just failed. :<
    Plus, this relationship sounds like my last one. Like, hi, it happened, we didn't really talk and it was really psychical. Fail.

    1. Yeah, I hate relationships like that - I need my books to have real emotions! Sorry your relationship didn't work out :(

  5. It could have been interesting if written better. Such a waste I always feel.

  6. Thanks for the review. I considered reading the books but had my doubts so I think I'll skip it.

  7. Definitely sounds like the type of book I would have loved in high school...and now. :-) Interesting about the teen pregnancy distinction, but as a mom, I understand what you mean. Looking forward to reading this one!
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