Abandon by Meg Cabot

Pierce knows what it’s like to die, because she’s done it before.

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can’t help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she’s never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she’s moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can’t. Because even here, he finds her. That’s how desperately he wants her back. She knows he’s no guardian angel, and his dark world isn’t exactly heaven, yet she can’t stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

The myth of Persephone…darkly reimagined.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. That’s kind of my general rule about the reviews I write here. I LOVE to nitpick (as you may have noticed), but in general I don’t bother to review books I flat-out don’t like. Why waste time and energy saying negative things? And yet, this book is an exception.

I didn’t like Abandon, but instead of forgetting about it like I do with most books that I don’t fancy, all the things that bothered me have just been circling around in my brain for DAYS! I need to get it off my chest. Also, it’s worth noting that I don’t have the same amount of guilt over giving a Meg Cabot book a negative review since she’s already such a well established (and wildly popular) author. I’ve actually read and enjoyed some of her other books, as I’ll explain later.

Ok.

The book starts off nearly two years after Pierce “dies”. At the age of fifteen she stumbled, hit her head and fell into the family pool. Fortunately it was winter, which means she kept cold enough to make a full recovery once revived. Now Pierce and her mom have moved to the small island of ——. Her mother hopes that this will be a fresh start and a way for Pierce to escape the trouble she had at her last school, but Pierce knows it wont be that easy.

See, Pierce didn’t just die. She woke up in the underworld. That’s where she met John. And since she’s come back to life  he’s been following her.

I like the premise, I really do. A modern take on this myth sounded really cool. But it just didn’t work for me. First of all, the pacing was really confusing. The book starts off with Pierce already living on the island, and then goes back and fills in all the blanks regarding her death, meeting John, and the mysterious trouble she got into at her old school. There is SO much flipping back and forth between timelines that I had trouble keeping up. I actually checked the front of the book a few times to make sure I hadn’t picked up the second book in the series by mistake. It was a very awkward storyline to follow.

Secondly, when you finally do find out what happened in the Underworld it’s a big letdown. Pierce spends a lot of time alluding to what happened there and how upset John is with her and how TERRIBLE it all was. And then you find out she spent all of thirty minutes in the Underworld before throwing hot tea in John’s face and escaping. OMG! NOT HOT TEA! Horrors.

Despite the fact that she barely knows this guy and he pretty much kidnapped her, Pierce finds that she can’t stop thinking about John. Surprise, surprise. She alternates between being terrified of him and what he can do (he has a habit of showing up when Pierce gets herself in trouble and laying the smack down on the people bothering her), and feeling as though she is the one who treated him badly by throwing that tea in his face.

Let’s talk about why all of this bothers me so much. Warning, there be spoilers ahead.

Since when is defending yourself when you’re alone with a guy and he’s making you feel uncomfortable something to feel badly about? Pierce spends a lot of time agonizing over John and being semi-attracted to him, but for most of  the book she’s also frightened of him.

Eventually she meets someone else who’s had a near death experience and can actually explain what happened to her and what John is. He also suggests that Pierce could be a little “sweeter” to him.

Really?

Let’s forget for a moment that Pierce has NO REASON WHATSOEVER to be sweet to this guy, and talk about John.

Pierce calls him a jerk at one point (not sweet), but I think she’s wrong. He’s not a jerk, he’s a robot. Seriously, I could not pick up any emotion from this character, even when it was clearly explained to me what he was feeling. I knew when he was angry, but only because he displayed it in a, “Hulk angry! Hulk Smash!” kind of way. He doesn’t listen to Pierce, he doesn’t care what she wants and he doesn’t even seem to understand when something upsets her. When he finally carries Pierce back to the Underworld (to keep her safe, of course), he barely seems to register that this is not something she’s pleased about. Instead he sits down and starts to read a book.

At this point I just shook my head.

After finishing this story, I thought back on some of Meg Cabot’s other books that I’d read. For instance, her Mediator series, which I read years ago and LOVED. It made me wonder if my tastes had just changed or Cabot’s style in this book was very different. I thought about this so much that I actually went and got one of the Mediator books out of the library, just to check. I’m halfway through, and I still really like it. It’s fluffy, but it’s also funny and I really like Susannah.

So, in conclusion: I did not like this book. It was not my cup of tea, as they say. But I do still enjoy Meg Cabot’s writing…. when she is not writing about these characters.

Abandon on Goodreads & Amazon

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