Monday, December 13, 2010

Manifest by Artist Arthur: Review
Posted by Tiffany at 11:24 AM

Title: Manifest
Author: Artist Arthur (site)
Published: July 27th, 2010 by Harlequin
Pages: 256 
Price: $7.73 Book Depository $9.99 Amazon 
Series: Mystyx #1
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 2/5 
Synopsis: When fifteen-year-old Krystal Bentley moves to Lincoln, Connecticut, her mom's hometown, she assumes her biggest drama will be adjusting to the burbs after living in New York City.
But Lincoln is nothing like Krystal imagined. The weirdness begins when Ricky Watson starts confiding in her. He's cute, funny, a good listener—and everything she'd ever want—except that he was killed nearly a year ago. Krystal's ghost-whispering talents soon lead other "freaks" to her door—Sasha, a rich girl who can literally disappear, and Jake, who moves objects with his mind. All three share a distinctive birthmark in the shape of an M and, fittingly, call themselves the Mystyx. They set out to learn what really happened to Ricky, only to realize that they aren't the only ones with mysterious powers. But if Krystal succeeds in finding out the truth about Ricky's death, will she lose him for good?

Initial Thoughts: I saw this book on NetGalley and thought it looked interesting. For some reason intentionally mis-spelled words really bother me. I was hoping there was a good reason for the "Mystyx"  to be spelled like that, but I was disappointed.

Review: This book really didn't do anything for me. For one thing, the synopsis is misleading. I don't know how she can think he's everything she ever wanted when she's only talked to him a few times. Every time she does talk to him, they just fight. It's a very weird relationship and I don't quite see how it makes any sense. She's jealous of his (dead) girlfriend, but I never saw any real relationship development. He scared/annoyed her, then she was jealous. I wish we had gotten to see more interaction between them.

I had a hard time connecting with Krystal. I thought she was pretty much spoiled, self-centered, and dramatic.  I can understand her anger over the divorce, but she was being pretty short-sighted about the whole thing. As soon as the mom was introduced, I doubted Krystal's version of things. I suppose that this is fairly realistic, but it was also frustrating. I just wanted her to stop thinking about herself for two seconds and realize that maybe the parent who actually returns her calls isn't the villain. She was also all over the place emotionally. I'm not sure if it was done on purpose, but she would hate the ghost in one scene and then think about how sad his situation was and how much she wanted to help him the next. The slang used felt a bit forced to me, but I'm willing to admit that it could just be a regional thing. Do kids really use chat rooms for talking? What about texts or IMs or facebook? I would never text someone to get on a chat room so we could talk.

There was an awful lot going on in this novel. Too much, really. There is the mystery of why her parents split, a ghost that follows her around, wanting her to solve the mystery of his death, a group of girls terrorizing her at school over her crush on a different boy, a secret club of kids with abilities that is hounding her to join, and secret magic storms. Any one of these would have been enough to build a story around, but all together they just leave you a bit muddled and unsatisified. None of the mysteries/issues are resolved to the reader's satisfaction. You solve the ghost's murder, but it's a bit sudden. I almost wish she would have simplified the plot a bit and focused on the characters more. 

Quick Review: This book had a lot of potential: girl needs to solve a ghost's murder, ghost happens to be cute teenage boy. I could really get into a story like that. It just feels like there were too many things going on, too many story lines. This one could have done with some plot simplification and more character development. I may give the sequel a try, see if some of the questions raised in the first installment are answered.