May 19, 2012

Review: Sing Me to Sleep

By: Angela Morrison
Published: March 2010 by Razorbill
Format: Hardback, 301 pages
First Reviewed: May 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
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Love can haunt you forever, like a beautiful, aching song.

Beth has always been “The Beast”—that's what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glasses. Beth's only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scott. That is, until she's selected to be her choir's soprano soloist, and receives the makeover that will change her life forever.
When Beth's choir travels to Switzerland, she meets Derek: pale, brooding, totally dreamy. Derek's untethered passion—for music, and for Beth—leaves her breathless. Because in Derek's eyes? She's not The Beast, she's The Beauty.
When Beth comes home, Scott, her best friend in the world, makes a confession that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scott or follow the dangerous, intense new feelings she has for Derek?
The closer Beth gets to Derek, the further away he seems. Then Beth discovers that Derek's been hiding a dark secret from her …one that could shatter everything.

Rating: 2/5

Gah! Freaking! Man! Jeezus! Ugh! *throws a fit* This was one of the "most excited to read" books for this month. And all I'm going to say right now: It disappointed me. Very, very much. Freaking jeezus, man! Not cool!

The thing with settings is that it doesn't matter if the city/town/place is interesting and different from most other books, if you can't show the setting, you have none at all. Overall, I liked the setting. Like I said, it was unique and covered three continents and a few cities, but Morrison failed to deliver the descriptions needed to really transport readers there.

Beth. Where to start with Beth? In the beginning, prologue beginning, I thought I was going to love her. But then she drove me nuts for the first fourth of the book. Okay, I get that many people constantly tell themselves things that others say (in this book, she's constantly called "ugly" or "the beast," for example), but with books, you can't just say it over and over and expect readers to feel her pain. I never truly felt her pain from her appearance. Anyway, after her Princess Diary transformation--which was pointless, in my opinion; I'll explain later--I started to like her all right. Not my favorite lead, but likable. But then she fell in love--*a moment of angry silence* Again, I'll explain later--and became the most annoying chick ever. And that remained through the rest of the book.

As for the minor characters, a quick rundown: Derek=Okay. Didn't love him, didn't hate him, though he felt unrealistic at times. Scott=In the beginning, loved him. Halfway through, thought he was ridiculous. Minor girl friends=Uh...nothing really to say. Didn't stand out or affect me in any way. Other minor characters=Blah.

Maybe the writing is another reason I'm so angry with this book. Despite the fact that Morrison (or her editor; I'm not sure) couldn't decide whether she wanted to interrupt dialogue without the use of dialogue tags (he says, for example) with commas or dashes--which drove me nuts, of course *cough*dashes are correct*end cough*--Morrison has a very good writing style. She gives voice to her character, her writing is very clean and easy to read, yet still mature, and it's a style that I would love to read over and over. As long as she adds more description to the setting, develops her characterization, and fixes her plots (it's coming, I promise).

First, what I liked: Loved the singing plot with choir and whatnot. It was a nice shift. Loved the overall premise. It was beautiful and could have just been so, so powerful. And I loved the message that it sends, even if I don't think the character got it.

Now, what drove me nuts and made me so angry: It was not in any way executed well. There's this amazing premise, but the meat of it (what should have been developed the most) was so...what's the word I'm looking for? Ridiculous. That's the only one I can think of. The romance, which is the main plot, honestly, is just so over-the-top unrealistic. They fall in love within hours, literally, and then it's all downhill from there. The love-triangle should have been scraped. Beth's subplot with her "issues" should have been scraped. The "makeover" and with Beth being the outsider, really seemed pointless, like it was just there to have a first half of the book.

There were just so many unneeded elements that took away from the main purpose of this book. If this would have been realistic and focused on emotion and feelings, it would have been amazing. Instead, we're stuck with a joke of a romance and a rushed ending that leaves no time for emotion or feeling. Seriously, the last few pages ruined it even more for me.

This book may send a great message, but it's a message that can be learned in other ways. Morrison's writing was what made this bearable for me, but the plot and the characters just needed some serious help. In my opinion, if it would have been centered on the relationship between Beth and Derek instead of the stupid love triangle and slew of subplots, this would have been outstanding, methinks.

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