Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud

the lowdown

Violet has spent most of her life pretending to be someone else. Violet has spent years preparing to become Erica Silverman, a Las Vegas heiress who was kidnapped at the age of five. Violet knows the truth, that Erica was killed almost immediately after, but very few others do. Violet's father, Sal, Las Vegas' best conman learned the truth from Erica's killer. He raised Violet to impersonate Erica with the intent that she would infiltrate the household and steal an expensive painting. But when push comes to shove, and Violet finds herself living in Erica's old life, making friends and a boy that could possibly be more, she begins to doubt her mission.

I was so ready to love this book, but unfortunately, I just didn't. The first three quarters of the book were really well done, but after all the lead up to a specific event, Violet stealing the painting, I found the climax to be a little stilted and frankly not deserving of the build up. It was still an enjoyable read, but I was hoping it'd end with a pop, but instead it fizzled.

the good
  • I thought that the premise and general storyline were really interesting. I've never read anything like it before and found it to be really enjoyable. It was interesting to see the way that her upbringing as the daughter of a conman impacted the way that she looked at the world.
  • The book touches on a lot of different themes, especially identity and grief. I really enjoyed reading about the ways that Violet and Erica's identities merged and weaved in and out of each other. I thought that Painchaud handled the grief that many characters were experiencing in a thoughtful way.
  • Painchaud was really good at slowly building suspense to the ending. It was more subtle than a lot of other books in the genre, but by the end I was really curious as to what Violet would do when it came time to steal the painting. 
the bad
  • Honestly the ending of this book is what really ruined it for me. I don't want to give anything away, but I feel that it does deserve some commentary. It's not at all that the ending wasn't satisfying or was inappropriate to the story. It's just that Painchaud had me so intrigued as to what was going to happen, and told such an unconventional story, I was hoping the ending would honor that and I don't feel that it did. 
the quote

“The microwave clock spills over into midnight, and the marionette girl walks up the stairs to sleep in her puppet bed in the puppet house, filled with not-puppet people. They are made of flesh and blood, and she is made of lies and wood.”

skip it/borrow it/buy it

I think that this one is worth reading for any YA fan, especially for those fans of suspense and thrillers. I don't think I'll be picking up a copy of this one for my bookshelf. Borrow it.

overall score:6/10

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