Friday, April 12, 2013

[Review: The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour]

"The Disenchantments"
Author: Nina LaCour
Pages: 307
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Date Published: February 16th, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Format Read: Borrowed copy from the library


Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev's band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she's abandoning their plans - and Colby - to start college in the fall.

But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev's already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what's next?

Morris Award–finalist Nina LaCour draws together the beauty and influences of music and art to brilliantly capture a group of friends on the brink of the rest of their lives.

My Thoughts:

Guys I wanted to love this book, I really did.  Road trip with a band followed by an adventure to Europe.  That's my dream life, but what isn't my dream life is this book.  I'll admit that I would have given the last 90 pages a 3 unicorn rating, but it was what came before that that made this book not work for me.  I think had the book started with the last 100 pages and continued, I would have been much more pleased with the story.  It had all the fixings to be perfect: music, art and friendship all shoved into an old school, VW van with some musical equipment, but it just plain fell flat for me.

First I had no idea that Colby was a dude and as I was reading I was wondering if he really was.  I didn't find him authentic at all.  I know a lot of guys and none of them would ever act the way that Colby did.  I swore he was a girl the whole book.  And so it made my reading experience awkward.  I think that Colby should have been a lesbian who was in love with her best friend, because that's what it seemed like, even though apparently Colby was in fact a fellow.  I just couldn't wrap my head around what the author wanted us to believe with his character.  I get internal dialogue sometimes leaning toward the feminine, but his actions and spoken words needed to be masculine and they weren't.  Not until the last 90 pages that is.  Then Colby sounded like a dude out of nowhere.  A dude I wanted to like, but couldn't.

I found Bev to be one of those people who I didn't like much either.  She's supposed to be this amazing creature that Colby is in love with and his best friend, but she's been lying to him for 4 whole years.  Yeah that doesn't work for me either.  And their relationship made me cringe instead of cheer them on.

I did however really enjoy Meg and Alexis!  Those sisters rocked and are what touring with a band is all about!  I was glad that they were around to shed some light on all the darkness that Colby and Bev's mess was making.  They were sweet, edgy and rock n roll.  Plus, Alexis' love of Heart was a great addition to the trip.  Oh and Jasper!  I kinda loved him and the fact that he went out of his way to help everyone find that mystery tattoo!  

The music and the band were actually done really well.  I liked that they really didn't play that well.  I think we all know bands who play more for fun than for recognition and LaCour has a good grasp on what the dynamics of this kind of band are like.  Also all of the music mentioned is good stuff!  This girl has great music taste which she features wisely in this book.  I also liked the odd mystery surrounding the tattoo that Colby goes in search for and the touring aspects of the trip.  That stuff actually held my attention.

I think in the end my dislike of the book stems from not understanding the leads and wishing that it was about all of the secondary characters instead.  But if you like coming of age road trip tales then this just might actually be the book for you, even if it, sadly wasn't the book for me.  

2 Unicorns = Something just didn't work for me!


Jenni @ Alluring Reads said...

Well it's never good when you are reading about a guy but you spend the whole book thinking that he is a girl. I like your idea of him heaving been a lesbien, there needs to be more LGBT books anyway! Happy that the more arty aspects of the story were done well. Great review, sorry this one didn't live up to you expectations.

Eileen said...

Oh yeah I HATE when I accidentally am like "She's so stupid! No wait, it's a HE?!?!?! Then HE's even MORE stupid!" And then I'll keep reading awkwardly because of the first mistaken identity crisis. Meg sounds pretty annoying too!

But I'm glad that the music aspect of it was done well, although I'm still probably going to pass on this with all of the bad points you brought up.

Great review! Sorry you didn't love it as must you hoped.

Nicole said...

Such a bummer this one didn't live up to your expectations. It does sounds pretty awkward the whole confusion over Colby's gender. The cover is pretty awesome too. *sigh*

Jessica R said...

It's always really disappointing when the main characters ruin what could have been a great book for you. I've had that happen before and it was not fun. At least it wasn't completely terrible, I guess? Thanks for sharing though; seems like this wouldn't be the book for me either, and that's always good to know!