Review: Outcast by Adrienne Kress

June 22, 2013

Title: Outcast
Author: Adrienne Kress
Publication date: May 16, 2013
Publisher: Diversion Books
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Rating: 2/5 stars
Source: Diversion Books via NetGalley
After six years of “angels” coming out of the sky and taking people from her town, 16-year-old Riley Carver has just about had it living with the constant fear. When one decides to terrorize her in her own backyard, it’s the final straw. She takes her mother’s shotgun and shoots the thing. So it’s dead. Or … not? In place of the creature she shot, is a guy. A really hot guy. A really hot alive and breathing guy. Oh, and he’s totally naked.

Not sure what to do, she drags his unconscious body to the tool shed and ties him up. After all, he’s an angel and they have tricks. When he regains consciousness she’s all set to interrogate him about why the angels come to her town, and how to get back her best friend (and almost boyfriend) Chris, who was taken the year before. But it turns out the naked guy in her shed is just as confused about everything as she is.

He thinks it’s 1956.

Set in the deep south, OUTCAST is a story of love, trust, and coming of age. It’s also a story about the supernatural, a girl with a strange sense of humor who’s got wicked aim, a greaser from the 50’s, and an army of misfits coming together for one purpose: To kick some serious angel ass.
 I have been struggling to write this review for the past week, and let me tell you, this (finally typing this), hasn't been easy. Not only because everything has been really busy right now. Nope.

The book is off to a great start in the first page. You know how they say that the first line of a book has to be strong, get the readers hooked? Yeah, bulls eye.Check this out:

Unfortunately, it's only in the first chapter that the high note is maintained. Right after, its downhill almost all the way.

The blurb is pretty much self-explanatory, so I'm not going to elaborate much on the storyline. In Riley's town, every year, winged creatures come out of the sky and take away people. Sometimes one, sometimes more. One night, when she's alone at home, one of them come for her, but she shoots it right in the face. However, overnight, the 'angel' has turned into a very human boy named Gabe, utterly naked and tied up in her garage. Gabe is from another time, and does not have a clue about what has happened. The book is set in a small town, and Riley and Gabe go about trying to solve the mystery that is him, and behind the 'angels'.

There were a couple of things about Outcast that saved it from complete disaster.

Riley. Riley's voice is very distinct; unique and funny at the same time. One of the reasons I sat through the entire book was because of the awesome narration from Riley's POV. She has this dry sense of humour that sets off well with the story. Though there are points where she acts absolutely dense, and others when you want to ask her to just get on, on the large scale of things, I think she did pretty well.

And the awesome cover. I think a lot of people would pick the book up just for the cover; it's so beautiful. I know I did.

Other than these few redeeming qualities, Outcast fails in almost every department.

I didn't feel like I 'connected' to the characters. They all seemed very one dimensional, except for Riley. And again, dense. I mean, really. Which Mum would allow a young boy who appeared out of nowhere to live in the same house as her teenage daughter? How believable is that?

There were a lot of things that just felt like there wasn't much effort put into it. They paranormal elements in the book, for instance. They can be easily confused with our traditional idea of a ghost. The first half of the book is slow, slow, slow. For a long time, it felt like the story was going nowhere, and I had to keep forcing myself to continue. There was a real lack of focus in the story. And since the book is spread out over a year, quite a lot of time is spent going 'nowhere'.

And the ending. Oh good Lord, please dont get me started on the ending. If there ever was an ending that confused me so much, I'll eat my hat! I dont know whether to call it open ended, or just plain incomplete. I keep expecting to hear that the book is part of a series, but nothing of that sort has happened yet, so there really is no reason for such a sloppy ending.

Bottomline: Dont get sucked in by the cover.

P.S.: Okay, I just found out that the cover was designed by the author! Omg, that's absolutely brilliant, and really, hat's off to the Ms. Cress for doing such a wonderful job of it! The cover is so so beautiful!

*A copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.