Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Double Clutch (A Brenna Blixen Novel)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every time I decide to delve into self-published shaky territory I get worried. My experience in this field is quite limited and truly I am not sure I feel like actually getting more. This year, I was certainly heartened by instances such as Flat-Out Love but I am still burned by previous wrist-slitting catastrophes.

Thankfully, Double Clutch is a keeper. Mind, it is not perfect (then again, not even the traditionally published ones are) but this series and this author are certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Our Brenna, soon to be 16, has just come back from a year abroad - in Denmark - with her family. She's been home-schooled in that period and has now decided to do Share Time, attending both her regular high school and Tech school, where she's chosen graphic design. Trouble arise when, on her very first day, she meets Saxon, resident smart-ass bad boy and Jake, sweet, dyslexic, gorgeous techie, and is captivated by both. These two guys seem to have some shared history they don't want to talk about and Brenna is becoming the catalyst for the inevitable to happen.

What surprised me - pleasantly - about this book is that, despite the presence of some clichés which would normally put me in eye-rolling mode (insta-love, love triangle, new girl in school who sucks at PE, gorgeous guy with tousled hair), they are limited to beginning of the story, which then becomes interesting and fairly original.

Liz excelled at characterization in this case: the teenagers portrayed sound pretty believable, they're even occasionally goofy and certainly they don't sound like adults in the skin of teens, as it often happens. Sometimes, you can really detect the author's voice in such young characters and I think Liz pretty much managed to avoid that here.

Saxon and Jake are two charming and interesting characters and what I appreciated most is that, ultimately, the story is not about Brenna or the love triangle but rather about them: two friends who grew apart and who are obliged to come to terms with one another again because of/thanks to a girl. There are some secrets between them and gasp! even an interesting twist towards the end. I liked their stories, their personalities (Saxon is definitely reminiscent of Adrian from VA. Enough said.) and their quirks (photographic memory and dirt bikes? I liked that!).

But let's talk about something that is far from clichéd in this book: I have never EVER read such explicit make-out scenes in YA lit comparable to the ones in this book. It was an unsettling feeling and I am most definitely not used to it. I'm used to it in paranormal romance, not in this genre!

The result is pretty much to my taste, - but might NOT be to everybody's - there is no sex since the kids are kinda young but the scenes are steamy, graphic and just... stunningly and embarrassingly real. I say embarrassingly because I seem to recall myself some centuries ago.

The one missing star from my rating has to do with, you guessed it, the editing. There are a few typos and grammar mistakes here and there which could have been avoided with the help of a clinical eye. Also, in my opinion, some parts should have been tightened up, especially the internal monologues and the descriptive parts, while the dialogues are very, very good. Brenna has a clever, witty mind and I liked her very much.

Aside from that, a very pleasant and enjoyable book. I will surely read the sequel/s to Brenna, Jake and Saxon's story and I am glad Liz Reinhardt gave me the possibility to read Double Clutch.


  1. This sounds interesting. I would have been initially put off by the insta-love and love triangle which is far too common in YA. I'm glad to hear there is a fairly strong story too.
    I recently started reading a self-published book that has a lot of grammatical errors. I ended up setting it aside for now and plan to go back to it because the plot is fascinating. But I get frustrated with the typos and grammar mistakes because I feel like someone self publishing should want to go the extra mile with editing knowing that they are completely responsible for the finished product. While I can close my eyes to a few mistakes, when they are too frequent, it takes away from my enjoyment.

  2. Donna I agree.
    In this book the typos/grammar mistakes are really not that many. And at first I thought too, bah, love triangle, insta-love... but somehow the story and the characters are still lingering in my head and I deem that a good sign.

  3. Lisa, I'm sold on this. I know Wendy told me she was reading but I wasn't too sure because it was self-published. It sounds like the author made a lot of the right choices and I'm glad that so many YA cliches were left out. I have to admit that I'm a little curious about the makeout scenes you described. Sometimes those types of things make me feel a little awkward when it is YA.

    Anyway, you've definitely convinced me to give this one a go.

  4. Ms. Anderson :D
    wait a sec. The clichés are there BUT they didn't bother me as much as in other similar books. They might bother you though, who knows. Give it a try!
    Yours truly,

  5. this is one is my favorites of the year<3 Like you said, the characters were TEENAGERS they acted THEIR AGE! surprise surprise, I also didn't mind the maturer sex. I real, it IS what happens between teens and it's nice to see an author not shy from realistic, again surprise surprise.

    There were the grammar/spelling mistakes but, what can you do right? For a self-published book they were pretty minimum. I'm currently reading Saving June and I came against a spelling mistake, I really couldn't believe my eyes! I thoughts such things don't exist in published books :p

    Great review, I'm really glad you liked it!

    -thank you&come again.

  6. Racquel, I read plenty of published books with typos and mistakes, it's not only self-pubbed. In this book I admit they were really just a few.
    Have you read Junk Miles yet?
    Enjoy Saving June, I loved it!


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