Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review & $50 Gift Card Giveaway - The Only Boy by Jordan Locke

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Title: The Only Boy
Author: Jordan Locke
Release Date: December 17th, 2013
Pages: 268
Goodreads Rating: 3.86/5 Stars
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
My Content Rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing; Some implied references to sex)
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult

Summary from Goodreads: Mary is stuck in Section One, living with three hundred women in a crumbling hospital. She wonders what life was like two centuries ago, before the Cleansing wiped out all the men. But the rules—the Matriarch's senseless rules—prevent her from exploring the vacant city to find out.

Taylor's got a dangerous secret: he's a boy. His compound's been destroyed, and he's been relocated to Section One. Living under the Matriarch means giving up possessions, eating canned food and avoiding all physical contact. Baggy clothes hide his flat chest and skinny legs, but if anyone discovers what lies beneath, he'll be exiled. Maybe even executed.

Mary's never seen a boy—the Matriarch cut the pictures of men from the textbooks—and she doesn't suspect Taylor's secret. If she knew, she might understand the need to stop the girls from teasing him. If she knew, she might realize why she breaks the rules, just to be near him. Then again, she might be frightened to death of him.

Taylor should go. The Matriarch is watching his every move. But running means leaving Mary—and braving the land beyond the compound's boundaries.

This book was really hard for me to put a rating on because, while I LOVED the premise and the plot, I just never connected with it.  It's funny because when I sit back and list out the plot points in my mind, I actually think that this could have been an amazing dystopian story.  But somehow it fell kind of flat for me.  I still liked it, but I didn't love it.

The negatives:
  • Writing style.  This story is told in first person present tense and switches between Taylor and Mary's POV.  In theory, this should pull the reader into the story so that they are experiencing the action right along with the characters.  But, for some reason, it didn't work that way for me.  To me, the writing style felt stark and detached.  The characters are describing everything around them as it's happening, but I didn't feel a connection to any of it.  It felt like everything was described rather clinically.  Even when an emotional response was described, I just didn't feel any of it - it felt more like a listing of emotional reactions to something that happened - I wasn't pulled in.
What I loved:
  • The plot.  I absolutely loved the idea behind this story.  Basically, a plague has wiped out most of the population of the world. Since the plague seemed to target men with it began, not only are there no men to be found, but men are basically blamed for the end of the world by most people.  Scientists have discovered a way to genetically engineer embryos in a lab and society is now lived by strict rules - one of the most important being, no touching (for fear of spreading the disease).  When Jordan comes to Section One, he has to hide that he is a boy. But he can't keep the truth from Mary, and the two end up fleeing out into the world, where they need to fight a new adversary - the dreaded Earthers.  Speaking of which ...
  • The Earthers.  I think my favorite part of the story was the part that had to do with the Earthers.  They are a group of women living in "the wild" who have their own sometimes dangerous agenda.  I don't want to give away too much about what happens because there are some real surprises here, but the book really picked up for me once the Earthers were involved!
I have to admit that I was hoping for a bit more with this book.  I thought that the plot was intriguing and unique, but I just didn't completely connect to the characters.  I give it 3/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

Buy Links:
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About the Author
Jordan Locke lives in Connecticut with his wife, two lively daughters and a well-behaved whippet. A graphic designer by trade, his creativity spilled over into the literary world. After years of writing, reading and learning the craft, his fifth novel, The Only Boy, brought him offers of representation from two well-known agents. Now, after the dog is fed and the kids are in bed, you will find him tapping away at the keyboard.

Author Links:
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  Blog Tour Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 6/8/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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