This is the very first DNF book I've had since starting this blog. Since I did not finish it (read: could not finish it), I will do a report on why I could not finish it instead. Don't expect a lot of DNF reports, but they will happen. Also, it will be profanity-laden, long, and more exact than a usual review. If I can't make myself finish a book, I've got some pretty good reasons why.
Title: Angel Star
Author: Jennifer Murgia
Publisher: Lands Atlantic Publishing
Release Date: May 18th, 2010
Pages: 251 (paperback)
Why I Didn't Finish This Book:I tried, people. I tried to tolerate this book and find something I liked. But I could not. I gave myself until page 50 to find something worth reading for. I didn't want any questions about the book to plague my mind after I gave up, so I forced myself to page 84, where I finally said, "Screw this" and skimmed the rest of the book in about ten minutes and found that I had saved myself a few hours of misery. I have not hated a book like this since I read... let's say Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush all the way back in early 2010, around March or April. Isn't it a coincidence they were both angel books?
Here are the main reasons I didn't finish this book:
1) Insta-love. I hate it. I hate it when two people in a book instantly develop a crush on one another or fall in love with one another because I like to see a relationship develop over the course of the book. With insta-love, the author is copping out of that relationship development. I don't care what reason they have for falling in love at first sight. So what if they've been lovers in past lives or if one is the guardian angel of the other? Give me development or give me death!
2) "You need a boyfriend." This exact line is uttered by Teagan's "best friend" Claire and it pissed my little feminist off like little else can. Listen here: no girl needs a boyfriend. I have gone sixteen-and-a-half years without a proper boyfriend and I have never needed one. I want one, sure, but I do not need one because I am complete as I am, I can defend myself, and my primary happiness comes from me. There is a fine line between needs and wants. Just as food falls into the "needs" section--after all, how can you live without food? You'll eventually starve. Boys fall into the "wants" section because a woman will not die because she has no boyfriend. Don't ever tell me that I need a boyfriend.
3) Demonization of confident and/or beautiful girls. Brynn and Claire are both confident girls in this novel. Brynn is beautiful, confident in how she looks, and bullies Teagan. She flirts with Garreth while leaning into the window of his car and Teagan remarks about her "spilling an obscene amount of cleavage" into the car. Garreth remarks later that he doesn't like ostentatious girls. Meanwhile, Claire is also beautiful and confident in herself and before Garreth arrives, she protects Teagan. Later in the book, she turns on Teagan, gets controlled by her boyfriend, and ends up dead. It's the antagonist's fault, but why it happens doesn't matter this time; what happens to her does. I get that whole "the meek shall inherit the earth" thing coming from this book. Do you know what message I'm getting? Beautiful, confident girls are bad. Be insecure and convince yourself that you're plain so that you can get the boyfriend your "best friend" is convinced you need and become something great! I'm going to cut this off here because after this point, my rant would make a sailor faint and my computer explode. But this makes me pissed.
4) It is unrealistic as hell. I was rolling my eyes so much when Garreth arrived on the scene and everyone was talking about him that I was afraid my eyes were going to roll right out of my head. Both of my parents grew up in small towns (and I mean small- there was one school at each level for the entire county and one private academy with about ten kids graduating per year) and when I asked them if new kids got a lot of attention, they both answered that no, they did not. Do not tell me that shit was realistic because it was not and don't use the "it's just fiction!" excuse either because even fictional fantasy needs some elements of realism.
5) Boring characters. Teagan was a dull character with little qualities that made me hate her (see the reason below this one). Garreth was the perfect love interest, which equals dull love interest because damn it, the guys need flaws too! I don't like perfect people! Hadrian, our villain with a name straight out of the Villainous Name Book, was a plain vanilla baddie; there was nothing special about him. He's just like every other bad guy out there who has the hots for the main girl for whatever reason. Claire and Brynn, our lovely confident girls who are demonized, are cliches and everyone else is even more unimportant than they are, so they don't matter.
6) I really fucking hate Teagan McNeel. I hate her name because Teagan is an awful name, in my opinion. I hate her personality because she is so insecure and I hate insecure heroines who keep telling themselves they aren't pretty when everyone else is telling them they are. I believe that every woman is beautiful and every time I hear a girl tell me she's not pretty, I go off on her. I just can't stand her! If she were real, I would be civil to her when I saw her because I would never be a bully and I wouldn't talk about her behind her back because that is even worse, but in my head, I would be ranting about her every second I was near her. Yeah, that's not very nice. I don't claim to be a very nice girl.
7) It's a fucking angel book! I don't do well with angel books. Heavenly? Superficial and infuriating. Hush, Hush? Off-the-scales horrible and pissed my little feminist off even worse than this did while also incorporating a future-rapist/rapist-in-training love interest. Fallen? Bloody awful. I got beaten with the Symbolism Stick just by reading the back cover because the main guy/fallen angel's name was Daniel Grigori (the Grigori are a group of fallen angels and I knew that before reading the book). His moods gave me whiplash and I gave up on page 100. But I gave this one a try because the summary made it sound so interesting and I've been anticipating it for six months and maybe this one wouldn't suck like other angel books. The friend I borrowed it from warned me that it had some of my worst pet peeves in there, but I gave it a try anyways because sometimes, our tastes differ in books. Why didn't I listen? I'm not even going to bother with fallen angel books anymore because there is apparently no expection to the "fallen angel/angel books suck" rule that I can find.
There are more issues that I didn't cover, such as Claire and Teagan's awful friendship, but these are the worst of the reasons.
My Reactions:Just so you can see my reactions to this awful book, I went back through it for you and picked out what went wrong for me and my exact reactions to it. I won't do this every time, but I had so many things in this book that made me go "Excuse me?" in some form that I believe you should be privy to it and the way my mind works.
1) The prologue, page 1: "...and the heavens wept for me." Oh really? You're so important that the skies cried for you when you apparently killed yourself? With a quote like this on page one, this isn't going to turn out well.
2) When we're introduced to the idea of popular bully Brynn Hanson, page 3: Oh God, here's the hot, bitchy cheerleader cliche again. Who wants to bet that she's going to be a slut too? And why are all of these girls in books getting bullied? I mean, damn, I know plenty of people who never got bullied once, but in books, they're everywhere!
3) A tour of Teagan's room, page 4: Ooh, angel sketches on the walls. I think I just got hit in the back of the head with something. Was that the Foreshadowing Stick? Nah, it couldn't be in a book called Angel Star. Nice job referencing A Great and Terrible Beauty. That's a kickass book.
4) We find out why Brynn bullies Teagan, page 4: So you got made fun of by Brynn for your hat and because you ate a fried egg sandwich that morning, a fit of vomiting got triggered. What the fuck that doesn't make sense at all!
5) Talking about her absentee dad, page 5: Ow, I just got hit with the Foreshadowing Stick again! Damn, someone's putting some real force behind that thing!
6) Meeting Teagan's best friend Claire Meyers, page 6: Great, the boy-obsessed best friend cliche decided to join the party! What's next, the perfect love interest? (Get away from my head, Foreshadowing Stick! Back, you fiend, back!) And Teagan needs a boyfriend? Excuse me bitch, but no she does not. No girl in the world needs a boyfriend. What she needs is a set of balls and a deadly weapon! Pet peeve number one!
7) Teagan sees something weird and Claire ogles a guy, page 8: Ah, there's the hypocritical action I knew was coming! So you drift off to la-la land while Claire is talking and see something funky, but I can hear you roll your eyes as you say "Forget it. I had lost her" while she ogles a boy elsewhere.
8) Teagan calls her life insane, page 9: Oh no you did not, bitch. You did not just call your life insane. So you live in a single parent home, are bullied, and have wonky daydreams. Guess what? There's about a million other kids just like you and millions more who have it way worse. Do me a favor and shut the fuck up.
9) Garreth arrives, page 10: Damn, this girl just spent half a page describing him. I think that she's going to bring up the color of his eyes a lot, so let's start the count now! Number of times Garreth's eyes are blue: 1. Man, I hate insta-love. Pet peeve number two!
10) page 11,"I had to speak soon or he would assume I was socially dysfunctional and at this particular moment that was a fate worse than death." This line is from Teagan. There are no words for how angry this makes me.
11) Teagan talks about how Garreth is like a god or a model and she's just plain old her, page 16: -gets held back by friends- Let me kill this girl and put us out of our misery, for the love of God!
12) Claire abandons her car and best friend in the school parking lot by riding home with her boyfriend, page 18: Yeah, that's such an awesome best friend! I want one just fucking like her! -foams at mouth- Number of times Garreth's eyes are blue: 2.
13) Brynn flirts with Garreth through his car window and Teagan sees, page 19: So because this girl is confident and is going after a boy she likes and just happens to bully you, she's spilling her cleavage all up in his face? Fuck you, Teagan. Not all girls have to be insecure little prats like you.
14) Garreth declares that he doesn't like "ostentatious girls," page 21: Fuck you too, Gareth. So you only go for the meek kind who won't stand up for themselves instead of the girls who won't take bullshit from anyone? Maybe that's why I haven't had a boyfriend yet! They would all rather have girls that worship them instead of girls who want to be their equals and won't take their shit. Number of times Garreth's eyes are blue: 3.
15) Teagan puts on makeup to look pretty for Gareth, page 24: So you're prettying yourself up in hopes of attracting this superhot guy? Try putting it on because you want to or it makes you feel good. You don't need to do anything to impress him, honey. Besides, he's already stuck to you like superglue. And being told that you're pretty while being convinced that you're not... that sounds familiar! It seems that a lot of Mary Sues do that.
16) Claire accuses Teagan of reading too many vampire books, page 28-29: Well hell, if Teagan's not trying to be established as an everygirl/self-insert now, what else can be done? For God's sake, she's reading the same kinds of books that the targeted audience is! (Sadly, this includes me.) Number of times Garreth's eyes are blue: 5.
17) Teagan leaves to spend an afternoon with Gareth without telling Claire, page 32: Wow, so both of you easily dump each other without saying a word if a hot guy comes around and wants to take you somewhere after school. You don't give your friend/ride home any warning at all. How the hell are you two best friends again? Number of times Garreth's eyes are blue: 6.
18) People stare at Garreth and Teagan as they leave, page 33: First: this girl has no common sense, going off with a guy she barely knows. Second: OMG so interesting! This new guy (whom, if this were realistic, no one would give a shit about whether he's hot or not) is going out with this uninteresting girl who's pretty but convinced herself that she's not and gets bullied! We must fire up the rumor mills! (That was way too much sarcasm for once sentence to handle.)
19) Garreth and Teagan end up at the same coffee shop as Brynn and company, page 37: "Wicked groupies." This is the funniest piece of the book so far. Also, we get it Teagan; you're supposed to be with Garreth! You can stop beating us over the head with the magical feeling in your gut!
20) Garreth asks Teagan about her life, page 42: You're getting right to it, aren't you dear? Thank God! If this book were 400 pages long like some novels instead of just 250, I think I would have to kill this book. You're not exactly being subtle with your questions about living other lives, you know. You're lucky that God forgot to give her common sense or you would be on the ground vomiting because she would have kicked you in the gonads and ran away by this point.
21) Teagan eats dinner with her mother, page 52: Wait, so you just spent an entire chapter detailing a phone conversation with Claire and the event of Teagan and her mother eating dinner? This has no use at all! Number of times Garreth's eyes are blue: 8.
22) Garreth helps Teagan with a nightmare, page 56: He's in her room and it's nighttime and he's glowing and what the fuck is going on why isn't she freaking out even if its a dream (which it's actually not and she realizes this in a few pages) she should be freaking out like I am right now she needs more italics damn it! Number of times Garreth's eyes are blue: 10.
23) Teagan and Garreth go to a little chapel in the forest, page 62: For the love of God, can someone throw this girl a bag of Common Sense Beans? She needs them! She goes out to the middle of nowhere with a guy she just met two days ago because she feels like she can trust him. You know what? Gut feelings can be wrong. Don't trust a guy who shows up in your room as a glowing figure and whose eyes are required to be called blue once every six pages!
24) Garreth confesses his love for Teagan, page 66: God damn it, this girl is being spoon fed all of this stuff and she's taking it in far too easily. Did it ever occur to you to think about what you're being told? Maybe he's lying to you and plans to use you for something evil and is filling you with lies so you'll help him. Really now! Plus, I'm pretty sure Teagan's personality changed with each life, so he could be confessing his love for one of those past lives instead of for Teagan.
25) Garreth explains about Hadrian, page 76: Ooh, exposition dump! So Hadrian is a dark angel (don't you mean fallen angel?) who wants to wreak havoc and is Lucifer's twin brother and wants Teagan (probably so he can screw her)? I sense a love triangle! (Oh no, the Foreshadowing Stick is back!) And Houston, we have a Chosen One. God help us all. Number of times Garreth's eyes are blue: 11. I looked a page ahead and saw "pure of heart" describing Teagan. That's the one phrase you avoid putting on anyone for any reason- even as a Chosen One- because it automatically gets people thinking of Mary Sues.
26) Garreth breaks the news to Teagan that they only have eight days, page 83: So if Teagan resisted Hadrian and had a daughter, she would be more powerful than Teagan was and Hadrian would want to screw her too and make her evil? Ew... disturbing thought. And I lost all respect for Teagan here because when he told her that he would be earthbound and no longer her Guardian if he was there for longer than eight days, this sniveling bitch wants him to do that so they can be together. So she wants him to give up the divine calling he was created for and has been carrying out since her very first life so they can be together? She better be thankful that she's a fictional character because by now, she would be just plain dead.
End of chapter, page 84: Fuck this shit, I can't do this anymore! Number of times Garreth's eyes are blue: 12. Once every seven pages on average. That is way too many times!
In Summary:After page 84, I screamed, shut the book, and took a ten-minute break, then skimmed the rest. I went looking at some reviews to see if anyone else had the kind of problems with this book that I did and I didn't find anyone who felt like this; most people liked it, in fact. Maybe I missed the entire point of the novel or I'm the wrong audience for this(though it's supposed to be young adult and I'm definitely a young adult). I came into this novel with few expectations, only knowing what little my best friend told me, so don't say I came in with a negative mindset. I never go into any book with the determination to hate it.
I swear, these are the exact reactions I had while reading. Go on and call me out for being overly mean and bitchy, but don't act like I'm insulting the author because I'm not. In fact, I thought Mrs. Murgia's writing style was quite readable. The problem was that her readable writing was telling an unbearable story. I've spent this entire DNF report taking aim at Teagan and the other fictional characters of Angel Star, not the real-life author. Don't mix those two up, please. I hope to see her telling stories in the future that don't make me want to twist off my own head and throw it into a wall because honestly? She has potential.