Scorched - YA Review by Rayna Grace C.

Reader: Rayna Grace C.
Age: 14
Title: Scorched
Author: Mari Mancusi
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: 09/03/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book:  I am going to preface this book review with the statement that this could have been a good book. All the elements were there: vivid, tangible descriptions, detailed backstory behind many of the main characters, multiple interesting perspectives on the same situation that added depth, and, last but not least, freaking dragons. However, this book had an overly complex plot line and was psychologically inaccurate to the characters’ personalities, which utterly ruined the book’s other elements for me.
First of all, there were about three potential plotlines in this book, and for whatever reason, the author decided to just cram them all together in this one novel to make what she must have thought as a Super-Book or something, but ended up making it incredibly confusing for the reader and even harder to explain why I did not like this book to my friends (after it was published!!). The first plotline focused around the main character, Trinity Foxx (What kind of name is that, by the way? It is overly sexy and does not portray the personality of the character at all), in her mission to help her grandfather’s struggling museum/freak show survive in order to keep her makeshift family together. Basically, her grandfather was an ultra-gullible dreamer who spent money on frivolous items for the museum he ran, like a “genuine unicorn horn” and “the last dragon egg,” and since a new highway had been built a few years earlier, Trinity and her grandfather’s museum had become completely out of the way for visitors, and the strange contents her grandma continued to add to the collection further deterred people from coming in. Trinity not only had to try to get through high school, but run the advertising, managing, and finances for the museum and her household without having a nervous breakdown. This in itself could have been a novel, and probably a great one. However, the plot thickens when it is revealed that the reason why Trinity had been living with her grandfather was because she had been in and out of foster homes her whole life due to her mother’s mental illness (she was diagnosed as schizophrenic), and when her mother finally did shape up and was able to provide a stable home when Trinity was 14, she elected to throw away her hopeful future and shoot herself in the head on that Christmas eve for Trinity to find. This also could have been its own story, dealing with grief, change, trust, letting go of resentment, etc. and it TOTALLY would have been a tear-jerker that everyone would have read and bonded over. But here is where everything becomes overwhelming and complicated: suddenly, that stupid dragon egg Trinity's grandfather bought is speaking to her, and the government is coming into the museum with the big guns in order to try and take it from her (they somehow just knew that the dragon egg existed, and also that it was at the museum). Furthermore, there is some random (attractive?) teenage boy trying to convince Trinity to take the dragon egg and leave with him. Of course, Trinity chooses the hot guy and they go to the house where Trinity and her mother lived before she committed suicide, because A) that totally will not be emotionally crippling for a person to go back to a place filled with their broken trust, dreams and personal nightmare come to life, B) how is that not an obvious place to go when you are in need of an abandoned safe haven? So, Trinity and (Connor) hang out for a while like no big deal, we are running from the whole entire government, but that’s pretty normal for me, how about you? And then after like, MAYBE an hour, Connor spills his guts out and explains that he was from the future, where basically the one dragon egg that Trinity had in her possession was taken by the government, cloned and mutated with lizards, and then set loose on the Earth, which caused everything to be burned down and killed by dragons and the people who were left alive were forced to live underground and somehow manage to stay alive. So, Trinity’s reaction to this, obviously, is to make out with Connor, because when I am in a tense, potentially life-threatening situation I repay the guy who “saved” me with a kiss (so original). So now, we are literally only like 30-45 pages into this book and we are pretty much neck-deep in drama, plot details and character information we MUST remember in order to get through the rest of the book, and I am giving literally the roughest outline possible in order to just convey my point: there was TOO MUCH going on in this book for it to be truly enjoyable. The whole time while reading, I was trying to absorb as much of the information being thrown at me without ever actually being like, ‘wow, this is a really deep moment here,’ or ‘I wonder what is going to happen next,’ because all I wanted to do was to understand the part I was at enough to get the next part that I was going towards, which is not a very fun way to read.
The second point I would like to make about this book is that the characters themselves all seemed fairly plausible in their original descriptions, but when their actions were shown or described in the story, they usually clashed quite a bit with what their personalities were supposed to be. I mean, I am all for characters with multiple facets and such, but Trinity at times seemed like multiple people. For example, she was depicted as a girl who managed to get straight As in school, work at her grandfather’s museum nearly every day and handle its finances, while maintaining friendships and still sleeping. This is a serious feat for someone who has literally no emotional baggage that could potentially drag them down. However, as previously explained, Trinity has some pretty big emotional baggage that would probably cause a normal teenager to lose their grip on everything and become extremely depressed, but she miraculously rose above all of those obstacles. I gave Trinity the benefit of the doubt on this one, just letting myself be impressed by her ability to thrive and jealous of her serious productivity skills. But, there was this one description near the beginning of the book that made me rather angry at the author for having it in the book, where it talks about some of the “fun” times Trinity and her (really dumb) friend Caitlyn had together. It said that in Caitlyn’s old barn, they “drank cheap whiskey stolen from (Trinity’s) grandpa’s stash and drunk-texted cute boys from school.” I am not sure if that quote was kept for final publication, but it really ticked me off nonetheless, because if Trinity was doing all of these great things and was so responsible, she would never cloud her judgment with alcohol, ever, let alone would she leave her phone out for her drunken self to text people anything either incriminating or embarrassing. Now, even if we took into consideration the horrible tragedy that befell Trinity in relation to her mother and the grief that would then follow, even if we said that alcohol could have been her escape, if that was the case, she would have never let her friend Caitlyn join in on the experience because it would more than likely be very shameful for Trinity, something she saw as a weakness or her fatal flaw. Now, I really could probably go on about this book for hours longer, but seeing as it is 2 AM on a Monday night, I think I should probably cut this a little short. Well, if you managed to pay attention and read through this whole essay-rant of mine, thank you. We should be friends.
Memorable or Forgettable: The book was memorable only for the deplorable points described above.
Cover: The cover was so cool, I am not even kidding; I picked up the book, said, “Aww, yeah.” and walked out of the TKB room in the library to check it out, without even reading the back. So kudos to whoever made the cover for Scorched, because you, my friend, win at advertising.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments: I am really sorry I went AWOL for almost five months- My computer was not working for three of those, and then high school happened and I was foolish enough not to take a study hall this year. But, I am back, and I am going to start pushing myself to review more again, so do not think I left everyone hanging here, I just had a small hiatus that won't happen ever again.
P.S. This review turned out to be way longer than expected. Sorry?

tags: fantasy / dragons / science fiction / time travel / urban fantasy / paranormal / conspiracy-theory / romance / ya lit

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