Living on Impulse

Reader: Chloe W
Age: 16
Title: Living on Impulse
Author: Cara Haycak
Publisher: Dutton Books
Pub Date: Aug 2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens' Top10: No
Did the cover reflect the contents: The cover accurately depictedthe basic plot of the novel. But even though it clearly showed a girlstealing a pair of sandals, the cover still seemed disconnected from thebook itself. While Mia's habitual thefts were a large part of the book,the novel focused on other themes. Aesthetically, the cover also seemedvery busy. The model in the photo had a busy print shirt, and her wristswere adorned with stacks and stacks of chunky bracelets. I was put offby the mess of colors to the point where I didn't focus on the title at all.
Recommend: No. I was enticed by the minor plot linebetween Mia's growing relationship with Clancy, the owner of the clubwhere her destructive behavior finally gets the best of her. However,much of the development of that storyline came from disjointed coincidences. Clancy shows up randomly in short spurts, and then all the sudden, he becomes a large part of the novel. His fragmented plot line had potential to be interesting, but Haycak decided to forgo adding compelling details to enrich the plot.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: Finkelstein, the scientist who hires Mia to breed flies, becomes a source of stability for Mia. His main love, science, influences him to spread his passion to others. The change he elicits in Mia is one of the more touching aspects of the book, but he so clearly fits the stereotype of an anti-social nerd that his message is bogged down by cliches. Even his name seems to add to the creation of the friendless geek, so his character is not much more than a caricature with a good message to send.
Did you finish: Yes
Reason why Disappointed with the book: As well, Haycak portrays Mia as much older than her age of fifteen, yet some of the themes contradicted this notion. Mia tries to transform herself into an older, more popular version of herself, and the book seems to support her acceptance of her youth. However, sometimes the messages sent are mixed as Mia grapples with her identity. Even though there could have been some truth to the themes presented, they get bogged down by inconsistencies between sections of the book.
Age Range: 12-15
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

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