Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Review: Devilish by Maureen Johnson

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

Author: Maureen Johnson Website|Twitter
Published: 28 August 2008
Format: Kindle e-book
Pages: 275
Amazon: Paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: Paperback|e-book
Book Depository: Paperback

Source: Free Kindle download

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Ally and Jane may not be that popular but they're good friends...that is until they each get allocated a freshman, a 'little' to show the ropes to at school.
Cracks begin to show as Ally changes into a whole different person, literally overnight. She's dressed better, making new friends, and ditching Jane more and more.
But Ally's transformation has its price. And it's up to Jane to save her former BF from a ponytail-wearing, cupcake-nibbling devil in disguise!

My Review:
I've read two of Maureen Johnson's previous books so when this came up as a free e-book download a few months ago I snapped it up right away. Devilish tells the story of Jane, whose unfortunate friend Ally seems to be having even more difficulties lately. When the two of them meet the mysterious Lanalee, life around school and their local town becomes even more strange.

I really like Maureen Johnson's quirky writing style and this book definitely had that. I loved how the book started out with typical high school drama - as the older students choose a "little" - a student to sort of attach themselves too. It managed to convey all that angst and jealousy you get with high school which always draws me in. I wasn't quite sure where the book was going to head genre-wise, whether it was going to stay contemporary or delve into paranormal. In the end it kind of gradually becomes clear there's more going on and weird stuff starts happening as you get further into the book so it has a little bit of both.

My main problem with this book was that I really didn't get on with the main character, Jane. I just couldn't connect with her. There's this one conversation with one of the teachers at her school where he lists all these rebellious things she's got up to whilst at school and the whole time I just wished we saw that side of her rather than just hearing about it through somebody else. I think if the book was narrated by one of the other characters such as Ally or Lanalee then I would have been a lot more connected with the story, because those two characters - who the majority of the plot revolves around - were more interesting characters to me. I was even drawn to Jane's sister Joan more than I was her.

I did like the mystery throughout the story of trying to find out just what was going on. Ally acting suspiciously peaked my curiosity and I found myself wanting to know what Lanalee was plotting because it was clear she was the character to be keeping an eye on. As it started to descend into more freaky stuff I started to lose interest because it got too weird. I just couldn't really go along with what was happening.

The book isn't too long so it was good to kill a few hours. I think some of my problems struggling to connect with characters were down to the fact the book was so short. It almost felt like a short story, and I think it maybe could have been told better in that format.

It's really hard to review this book because on the one hand, it kept my attention and the writing was good and entertaining enough but I just didn't connect with the main character and the plot was just a little too out there. I did find the climax to the story drew me in and had me turning pages but I don't think it would be a book I'd re-read.

Rating: 3*
What to read next: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Books like this: The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate

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