Monday, April 23, 2012

Point of Return by Erin Ross Hale

Title: Point of Return
Author: Erin Ross Hale
Rating: 4 stars
Length: 1125 Kindle units

The Plot

Sydney and her teen daughter Caitlin have not had the best luck of late… or really ever. Sydney has divorced her second husband for assaulting her, and he has taken everything in the divorce. Caitlin can’t go live with her father because his second wife hates her, and Sydney can’t see any way out of their current predicament. But Caitlin has the power to go back in time and change things, if the need is dire enough, and she’s hoping to find a way to save them both.

The Good

At 25,000 words, Point of Return is definitely a novella rather than a novel, which is neither a good nor bad thing, just something I feel a reader should know going in. It has the same plot as The Butterfly Effect, which is an awesome movie that actually made me like Ashton Kutcher. If you didn’t see it, you probably should (but not the Director’s Cut version. The only thing that’s different is the ending, but…. Yeah, not the Director’s Cut.)

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, the basic idea is that by changing one thing in the past, you end up changing everything about the future. Caitlin keeps going back in time to try to make things better for herself and her parents, but every time she fixes one thing, she ends up making everything so much worse. Though the story concept is not entirely original, the situations in which the characters find themselves are, so it’s definitely worth a read.

The Bad

The story kept alternating in viewpoint between Sydney and Caitlin. This mostly made sense because each of them knew things that the other one didn’t know, so you needed both of their perspectives to understand all of what was going on. The problem with this is that I found Sydney really unsympathetic, so I didn’t want to read about her, and when I was reading about her, I kind of wanted to smack her. Yes, her life was very difficult for a variety of reasons. But a lot of this was because she repeatedly made very poor choices. She practically dropped out of school after her mother died. She got pregnant too young and got married before she was ready. Then for her next marriage she picked a well-off man who she really should have known was a jerk. The story actually opens with her killing herself and Caitlin because she can’t see any other way out of the situation. And the burden of saving them both lies in the hands of her 13-year-old daughter, who fortunately doesn’t know that she is about to become the victim in a murder-suicide. Maybe if she did, she would have reasoned like I did that Sydney didn’t deserve it.

I also was not thrilled with the ending, in terms of both narrative satisfaction and mythological coherence. But I can mostly let that slide.

The Romance

Caitlin is only thirteen, so she doesn’t really have any romance. Some of the story does center around Sydney’s romantic choices, but that really isn’t so much romance as explanations of how she kept screwing up her life. So I’m going to declare this one a romance-free zone and end my review early.

Will I read more?

I’m pretty sure that this is a stand-alone novella, so there is not really more to read. As for whether I would read anything more from this author, I have no strong feelings at this point in time. If she e-mailed me and asked me to review another YA novella, I would have no problem with that. But I probably won't be stalking her blog waiting for new releases.

See Details for Book on    Amazon  


Post a Comment