Thursday, August 28, 2014

Oblivion by Sasha Dawn

Title: Oblivion
Author: Sasha Dawn
Egmont USA
Release Date:
May 27, 2014

Cover Impressions: I'm not usually a fan of full face covers, but I like this one.  The eyes are very detailed and the writing keeps your eye moving across the cover.  I am not, however, a big fan of the title font.
The blurb sounds really interesting and I am excited to read about someone who suffers from graphomania.  I have heard of this condition before and I really hope the author gets her facts right.  I do wish they had left the whole "new guy at school" part off, I don't see any reason for this story to be wrapped up in a romance.

The Gist:
  Calliope Knowles suffers from Graphomania - a compulsion to write.  Words pop into her head and torment her until she is able to get them out.  The disorder started the night her father, a local minister, disappeared with a young girl from the parish.  Callie was found in her old apartment, scrawling I KILLED HIM across the bathroom walls.  Since that day, she has no memory of what happened, but as she refuses to take her medication and slips deeper and deeper into the grip of the words that haunt her, they begin to form a pattern.  These clues lead her on a search that uncovers more family secrets than she ever thought possible.


I skipped over this book when I was in the middle of a reading slump and decided to wait to review it until I was more likely to enjoy ANYTHING that I was reading.  I'm very glad I did because Oblivion got off to a pretty slow start and and needed some patience.  There was something about the writing style that didn't quite grab me.  There was a distinct lack of transition between Callie's narrative and her Graphomania episodes and hallucinations/memories.  There was a great deal of description every time one of these hit (which was A LOT) and it really started to slow down the plot.  Callie spent a ridiculous amount of time searching for a pen, which drove me insane.  Every time her graphomania hi, she went frantic looking for a pen and notebook and I kept questioning why someone who suffers from this disorder doesn't have a pen in every pocket.  The plot was also slowed by the whole romance element.  Callie has a boyfriend, but naturally starts to fall for another guy who, unfortunatly, is the current interest of her foster sister - which leaves him off limits.  This led to a lot of pages dedicated to teen angst when all I was interested in was what actually happened to Callie and if she killed her father.  Eventually, I started to skim until I got to the halfway mark and things got interesting.

The mystery was less of a whodunit, and more of a whatexactlydidtheydo.  There were some decent surprises along the way.  I did feel like this book could have been more effective as a mystery if they cut some of the boyfriend drama and gotten rid of some of the repetition and made the book shorter.  By the time the main mystery had been resolved, it felt like the story was done, but there was a great deal of time spent wrapping up some of the loose ends, which left me a little bored. 

Callie was a decent main character, though she had more a tendency to follow along with other people's plans rather than to take charge of her own life.  When she did make her own decisions, they usually left her squatting in an unoccupied apartment with no real plan for the future.  The most interesting part about her was the graphomania.  I would love to know how accurate a portrayal this was and if Callie is representative of what people living with this issue actually go through.  I would also like to know how someone who has experienced this felt about John referring to it as a gift.  None of the other characters were particularly compelling, except Callie's mother, who is barely featured.

Oblivion didn't work for me right away, but the last 1/4 or so picked up and I enjoyed the mystery plot. 

Teaching/Parental Notes:

15 and up
Sex: Sex between teens
Violence: Physical Child Abuse, Sexual Child Abuse, Knifeplay, 
Inappropriate Language: Piss, Bitch, Fuck, Whore, Shit, Slut
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking, Marijuana Use


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