Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Review: Opposite of Amber by Gillian Philip
Author: Gillian Philip
Pub. Date: April 4th, 2011
Page Count: 320 pages
Summary: Ruby and her older sister, Jinn, are on their own, just about making ends meet. Jinn is beautiful, with glittering blonde hair, and makes it her business to look after Ruby. They are horrified by, but try to ignore, the local newspaper stories of prostitutes who are murdered, their bodies eventually discovered underwater. Then the no-good Nathan Baird turns up on the scene – again – and Jinn starts to change and no longer has time to look after Ruby. And it seems to Ruby that Jinn herself needs looking after. Her beautiful glittering hair starts to lose its shine. And then Jinn disappears.
A deeply moving, chilling, and incredibly powerful thriller that celebrates the love two sisters have for each other and mourns the events beyond their control that will conspire to drive them apart.
Review: First of all, don't you just love the cover? My ARC copy didn't have this cover, so when I looked up TOA on Goodreads, I was absolutely in love with the cover. And it totally meshes with some of the prevailing images of the entire book.
Let's start with the things that I loved. Philip's prose was delicious; she can really string words together. And while sometimes it can get a bit dense, when you delve deep inside of it, it's even more rich than you realized at first. One literary device I like a lot of is the use of motif, and the title of the book is one of them. Another thing I really liked about this book was the light that it shed on getting with the 'bad boy'. In a lot of YA books, the romantic interest is a bad boy, but in this, Ruby's older sister is the one who gets with him. And boy, does he ruin her life. Her love for him becomes the only thing that matters to her, to the point where she basically abandons her sister. He was a very seedy character and not in a good way.
Onto the things I didn't like - this book seemed to drag, a lot. I thought it could've been more tightly-plotted because it was really hard for me to try to read it, knowing that most of the things I was going to read about were very pretty but didn't add much to the story. The timeline became confusing as well; it jumped around a lot and sometimes I'd think we were still in the past, but we were back in the present. I wish I'd enjoyed this book more, if only because Philip is such an awesome writer, but it didn't seem much like a 'thriller' to me at all until about the last 50 or so pages. Even then, there didn't seem to be much urgency, and by that time, I was just reading to get to the end and didn't really care what happened.
Overall, I was not crazy about The Opposite of Amber. The prose was gorgeous but the plot dragged. I think this just wasn't my kind of book - I've seen some really good reviews for it! It's coming out soon, so go pick it up yourself!
Overall: 2.5/5 stars