Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: Twice Shy by Patrick Freivald

Twice Shy
by Patrick Freivald

Available as: hardcover, paperback, ebook
Pages: 240
Publisher: JournalStone
Release date: October 26, 2012
Suggested tags: young adult, paranormal, zombies

From Goodreads:
"High School Sucks. It’s worse when you’re dead.

Ohneka Falls is a small, Western New York town where everyone knows everyone and nothing of note happens. Ani Romero is a sixteen-year-old girl who wants to play sports, hang out, and kiss Mike, her middle-school crush. A childhood carrier of the zombie virus, she died at fourteen but didn’t become a mindless, brain-eating monster. Her controlling mother forces her to join the emo crowd to hide her condition behind a wall of black clothes and makeup, and her friends abandon her.

When creeper Dylan learns her secret, he falls into obsession, with Ani and with death. She bites him in self-defense. Persecuted by the jocks and ignored by Mike, Ani struggles through the motions of life hoping her other’s research unveils a cure, or Dylan dooms them all to a hungry, walking death.

As her emo facade crumbles in the face of jealousy and obsession, Ani knows that the worst thing she can do is be true to herself.

{ I received an ebook ARC for free through Early Reviewers on LibraryThing. }

Twice Shy was darker and heavier than I expected, making for a pretty creepy and intense read. It explores some serious topics: bullying, stalking, overdosing, self-mutilation, and ethics in science and research, just to name a few. The main characters are real and well-developed, especially Ani.

Ani, dead at fourteen but still living, hides in plain sight among regular high schoolers with an emo disguise. She plays the part of dark and broody, but inside she dreams of wearing pink and writing songs and going roller skating. She resists what she has become as much as she can, going so far as to carry a razor blade with her to cut her own wrists as a distraction when she starts feeling a certain sort of hunger.

Dylan's obsession with Ani is truly disturbing. When he appeared in scenes, I got the same sense of dread I feel when I'm reading a horror novel. After Ani bites him, her fate pretty much rests in his hands: he could kill her, obviously, but if his infection is traced back to her, she'll be incinerated by the authorities. And of course Ani's mother wants to take matters into her own hands and solve the problem of Dylan herself.

Ani's relationships with her mother and her friends are fascinating and tragic. Her mother is overprotective, as any mother in her situation might be, but the true reasons for her actions are revealed piece by piece as the story unfolds. Fey alternates from being Ani's best friend to her worst enemy, changing back and forth suddenly and frequently. (SPOILER - highlight to read: I almost cried when she destroyed Ani's art portfolio. Completely unforgivable.) Mike, who used to be a close friend, now won't even look at her sometimes. He spends most of his time with his girlfriend Devin, who is a total mean girl and tortures Ani mercilessly. Ani is hopelessly in love with Mike, even after he proves himself unworthy time after time. I wanted to shake that crush out of Ani real bad.

The ending... well, I'm completely torn. (SPOILER - highlight to read: Part of me thought it was necessary. If Ani's emotions were strong enough, it was bound to happen, right? If she and Mike were really in love, she was bound to lose control and bite him, right? It was a dark, twisted ending, but then again it was a dark, twisted book. So that part of me was ok with it. ... But the other part of me was like, SERIOUSLY?? After all that, after all of Ani's struggles to overcome her hunger and find a cure and get better... SHE EATS HIM?!?)

I devour YA paranormal books, but I've actually never read any zombie books. I know, right? I don't know why - zombies just never topped my list of favorite paranormal types. But lately I've been making a conscious effort to broaden my horizons a little in all genres. Twice Shy was my first zombie book, but it won't be my last. I've been bitten by the zombie bug and I need more books like the walking dead need more brains. (Bad puns totally intended.)

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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