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Monday, June 20, 2011
Abandon, by Meg Cabot. Meet Pierce Olivera - she died, but only for a little while. She lives with her mom (who in a former life would have been on Real Housewives of New York, but in her current life lives in a big fancy house in Florida and works on saving the spoonbills), her dad lives in New York and is a big cheese in an oil company that recently had an accident in the very waters where the spoonbills live. Anyway - back to Pierce who was dead but isn’t anymore: she’s new in school - in a special section for problem students, because dying is a big deal even if it isn’t permanent. She’s trying to navigate social waters between her arty unpopular new friends and the surface-nice frat douches who want to make her one of their own. AND OH YES, let’s not forget her kind-of boyfriend from her time among the dead, John Hayden. (Get it? Pierce = Persephone/ John Hayden = Hades, if Hades had a super intense dark-eyed STARE and was also dreamy, etc.)

(For another take on Persephone and Hades, please scroll down and enjoy these Pomma Gran Grans.)


1) I read this just as Jesse St. James made his dramatic doorway-standing scarf-flinging return to Glee (while singing Rolling in the Deep with Rachel), so whenever John Hayden is on the scene in the book, I picture the dramatic nostril flare, hair toss, and skinny knit scarf of one Mister Jesse St. James, which adds a layer of  unintended hilarity. Or maybe he was the model all along: Jesse St. James… On a horse! Really mad! Haltingly thoughtful! Dealing with incompetent underlings in the underworld! SUPER INTENSE EYEBALL STARING, not understanding human-girl feelings, temper tantrum, wearing black, etc.

2) Abandon is the first of an intended trilogy, but even so I felt cheated out of some story - this felt like set up or a prologue and not a complete segment of the story in and of itself.

3) There are some flashbacks/time shifts that weren’t clear to me as I was reading them. It’s entirely possible that this is just my problem because my reading time was choppy during the opening chapters of the book.

4) Once Pierce is out of the Underworld and in high school, things got a lot more interesting. You’d think it would be the opposite, but no.

5) Cabot always does such a nice job writing the interstitial kindnesses and cruelties of teenagers.

6) Seriously, Jesse St. James.

7) So far I like how she’s written Pierce’s interactions with her main adult confidant. (To keep it vague…)

8) Yes! Supernatural/ paranormal story (which term is preferred?) that’s old-time mythology and not yet another round of vampires. (Although Jesse St. Hades is as pale and single-minded as any vampire. But he’s not a vampire, and that’s what counts.)

9) But still a lot older. Does he get some kind of death deity dispensation for pursuing a girl so much younger? It's one of those 20, but also hundreds of years old deals. (LIKE VAMPIRES.)  What are your thoughts on fated romance? Because it skeeves me out, but I also have to admit that back in my tween/teenager years I would have thought it was super romantic. (and less work! Because then as now, I'm lazy.)

10) Abandon is funny in a lot of places (not just Jesse St. James places), which is good because she's dealing with some heavy stuff. This book grew on me - the first few chapters I was harrumphing around, wondering where the Cabot sparkle* was, but then I got into it and am looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.  Three solid stars. (Read in May, 2011)

*Cabot sparkle is a verified phenomenon - it is how she has published aprox. 50000 books.
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