First and foremost, I’m happy to see that this is the first in a trilogy. When you read the rest of my review, you’ll understand why….
THE OUTLIERS by Kimberly McCreight is this author’s first foray into young adult territory. McCreight’s adult novels (I’ve always hated the labels adult vs. young adult) are some of my favourite reads. Her breakthrough novel RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA was one of the best debuts ever.
THE OUTLIERS, on the other hand, doesn’t debut with as much of a bang as her past novels. A great set up to what could be a fantastic story, I found THE OUTLIERS to get bogged down in too much of the unnecessary and not enough of the plot.
RELEASE DATE: May 2016
DISCLAIMER: Novel sent via publisher in exchange for a honest review
SYNOPSIS: Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself. This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him. But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?
REVIEW: Little knowledge to me, this novel is actually science fiction at heart. Who knew?
Wylie has been self-confined to her house ever since her mother passed away in an automobile accident. Her brother has retreated to his friends, her father to his scientific work, and her best friend Cassie to her long-term gorgeous boyfriend Jasper. Also, there was that little issue of their last great fight they had. Yet when Cassie’s mother shows up stating her daughter has gone missing and a mysterious text from Cassie arrives soon after, Wylie and Jasper set out on a road trip across state lines to save their friends life. Little did they know, there is a lot Cassie’s not telling them….
In terms of the plot, the story itself is good. Not unlike other young adult novels where the woman at the centre is ‘special’ (see Divergent) or the only person who can save everyone (see The Hunger Games) or a bit of a loner whom no one understands(see Twilight). This book sets up all that for a great ending – and it does end on a cliff hanger – but once we happened to get into the really meaty and juicy stuff, the novel ends. While the science fiction-y twist isn’t new to the genre, I found myself a little confused at times and had to re-read what Wylie’s ‘specialness’ truly was.
And thus, the segue into my gripe – what type of novel am I reading? I signed up for a young adult adventure type and found myself locked into science fiction. Science fiction that only picks up 3/4’s of the way in and has no mention of it in the synopsis. What do you mean people have powers? What do you mean there are organizations out to get them? It just seemed jarring when you’re not expecting it.
Here are some other issues worth noting:
– Wylie, who suffers from a debilitating mental illness (agoraphobia) manages to leave the house by …… taking a deep breath and stepping out on her own. As a champion and volunteer for mental health initiatives, this paints a bad, unfair, and untrue portrait.
– Wylie and Jasper don’t believe near death experiences mean calling for help (parents, police)
– Once we get into the meat and potatoes of this novel, it accelerates and is down within 40-50 pages. Just when I was on board. Just when I was interested.
– The characters aren’t …. likeable.
I’m kind of looking forward to the next book because I really want to feel justified as to having to read this one. I feel like there is so much more to this story and I really want to give the benefit of the doubt to the author, who is one of my faves. Here’s hoping….