Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Review: Premeditated by Josin L McQuein

Premeditated by Josin McQuein

A week ago, Dinah’s cousin Claire cut her wrists.

Five days ago, Dinah found Claire’s diary and discovered why.

Three days ago, Dinah stopped crying and came up with a plan.

Two days ago, she ditched her piercings and bleached the black dye from her hair.

Yesterday, knee socks and uniform plaid became a predator’s camouflage.

Today, she’ll find the boy who broke Claire.

By tomorrow, he’ll wish he were dead.

This is one of those books that made waves in the greater blogosphere, initially when the inquiry letter was posted and again when the cover/release date were announced.  Some people that I follow - and usually agree with - loved it.

Which of course means that I am ragingly indifferent towards it.

The concept is genuinely great and it's easy to see how the protagonist can get wrapped up in a complex revenge scenario through her grief and survivor's guilt.  When someone you love and care for hurts themselves (in this instance, it's "hurts themselves into a coma") I really can understand how things which might seem crazy become normal.  Expected, even.  The lengths she goes to "avenge" her cousin's honor and health are commendable...if somewhat crazy.

Next good thing:  Good handling of LGBT issues.  One of the periphery characters comes out of the closet to Dinah by the end of the book and our fierce heroine basically says "You're gay?  Oh.  Okay.  Some things make more sense now.  Talk to you later."  No judgment.  No bigotry.  Just calm, disinterested acceptance.  You know, pretty much all of us want to be treated with respect to our sexuality.  Thank you, Josin McQuein.
Respectful handling of modern social issues.  Well done!
 As a bonus, the book was well-written, giving the reader a decent grasp of setting and characters, all without slowing the pace of the story.  I was never really bored by the events, which is saying something.

Now for the parts that lost me.
Impaired Judgment.
After seeing her cousin wounded to the core by a jerk, Dinah decides to wound someone else to the core.  Without proper investigation.  Without verifying details.  Without photographic evidence.  Without considering that her anger and grief might be clouding her judgement. 
Her gung-ho, "let's get this jerk" friends don't help, either.  Neither of them take a moment to say "Are we sure about this?  This is some serious stuff, Dinah."
Again, I understand that grief does strange things to a person, but Dinah is an otherwise clever person and she doesn't notice things that even I noticed...while I was reading this in little bursts throughout participating in NaNo.  You're playing with someone's life, Dinah!  Let's pay attention to the details!

Mommy Issues
Dinah has a picture-perfect relationship with everyone except for her mother.  This makes complete sense because, while her father is a decent put-upon guy and her aunt/uncle are practically the Cleavers, her mom is a nut job.  The perfect caricature of a pageant mother and drama queen, Mommy Dearest (whose name I've forgotten) has to be the most over-the-top insane parent I've seen in a book for a long time.  I know there are people like her in the world, but that doesn't mean it makes for great reading - or make the heroine more sympathetic.  All the while she's condemning her mother for her selfish hysterics, Dinah is planning to browbeat a fellow student into committing suicide.  And by the end, I don't think she even makes the connection between her mother's nuttiness and her own.  Hypocrite much?

While this book didn't exactly shoot the moon for me, I didn't hate it and I think for most readers who want to read it, it will be a very satisfying read.  I do believe that this is a good book, just one that didn't strike a chord with me personally.

3 out of 5 stars!

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