Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This Is Shyness

This is Shyness (This is Shyness, #1)This is Shyness by Leanne Hall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Can this review be more of a warning? I'm not sure This Is Shyness is for everybody.
To be honest, I don't think I've read anything like This Is Shyness before and it's pretty difficult to give it a label. I'm going to play safe and tell you that, maybe, the only sure label is YA?

But let me give you a brief synopsis to give you an idea.
In an alternate or future - I'm not sure - world similar to ours, a strange dark area has descended on the city (or neighborhood, still not sure) of Panwood. It's called Shyness and, there, the sun never rises. Just in that area.
It's a place that's been abandoned by regular people and is now populated by weird individuals, renegades, people of the night.

Meet Wildgirl during a night out in a bar in Shyness, called "The Diabetic". She's there with some friends from work to have a few drinks, but it's just an excuse. In reality, she's looking for trouble, or a distraction. Something bad has happened to her at school and she's trying to either forget it ever happened or find a way to run away from everything and never come back. That's where she meets Wolfboy, a guy with "thick air on his arms". The guy actually howls. Their meeting is a sort of epiphany - for both of them - and they decide to leave the bar together, to go bar-hopping in Shyness, to explore.
What happens next, I can assure you, is a trip into a grotesque world. There's a lost/stolen credit card involved, a ukulele, some gang kids who get high on sugar (literally) and a suicide mission to rescue a lighter, for crying out loud. All peppered with a budding romance between Wildgirl and Wolfboy.

If you're looking for something completely OUT OF THE NORM this is your book.
Incredibly, I was slightly bored at the beginning. Not only was I baffled by the odd encounters W/W were making but the pacing was kinda slow. I got dumped into this world without a compass and I felt a bit overwhelmed by the lack of information.
What is Shyness, really? What is Wildgirl's big secret, the one she's running from? (and let me tell you, when I found out, if that is the reason, I had a major eye-rolling moment) What is Wolfboy's secret?
The writing is undeniably awesome and I am awed by the author's imagination and ability to pull together a weird, abnormal, incredible story. The characters are alive and real - as well as complete weirdos.
BUT, it was a tad too much for me. I really wanted to read something different but maybe... not THIS different.

Fortunately, the second part of the book caught my attention much more.
Again, like with Wildgirl's reasons for running away, I found the purpose of the rescue mission in Orphanville, the place where the gang kids lived, really futile. Wildgirl wasn't making much sense in her stubborness, I really couldn't get why she was so adamant about putting herself into trouble.

Nevertheless, now that I finished the book, I am left with a thousand questions that still need to be answered.
I need to see more of Wildgirl and Wolfboy together. Their story was well developed and absolutely believable (maybe the only believable thing?).
Unfortunately, who knows when I will be able to get my hands on a copy of Queen of the Night?
Pick this up if you're bored out of your mind with paranormal YA today.


  1. This sounds like a really eccentric read, I don't think I've heard of a book this bizarre! Thanks for the honest review :)


  2. I think this is the first review that I've seen that hasn't gushed about the book. I had a feeling This is Shyness is pretty unusual based on the premise and reviews that I've seen, which is probably why I've hesitated in ordering it. I'll keep this in my mind when I feel like reading something different.

  3. I absolutely loved this book. And I completely agree with you, everything about it is just way out there. I have Queen of the Night but have yet to find the time to read it.

    Great review, Lisa! :)

  4. Ha, I love this review Lisa! Even though this wasn't exactly for you, I think you did a great job of speaking to the readers who might enjoy this book. Take note, authors! Less than positive reviews CAN be extremely helpful to a book. You've made me more interested in reading this! Thanks!

    1. Thanks Catie! In fact, I admire this book and the author for being able to stand out from the mass. I can't give it more stars myself but I sure hope people who recognize their taste in what I wrote will pick it up.

  5. Fab review Lisa, I'm glad you ended liking the book somewhat in the end! Hope you can your hands on the second book soon, darn these Aussie gems, so good, yet so hard to get hold of!

  6. I loved This is Shyness. It was so different! And I loved Wolfboy and Wildgirl for who they were. Queen of the Night is even better- the weirdness of Shyness plus a better plot. Good review.

  7. This book has so many novel ideas and I love books that are outside the norm, but I would have some of the same problems you did, Lisa, such as too many unaswered questions and lack of detial in world building. Still it might be an entertaining read. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I've read A LOT of gushing reviews for this book so it is nice to get a different take on it. I actually really like the sound of this! Maybe I am a little bored of the same old story in YA books and this might be what I'm looking for. Great review, Lisa!

  9. I agree that this won't be for everyone, Lisa. I found myself wondering what I was missing while reading it, I was sure that other readers would be getting something that I wasn't. I did enjoy it's uniqueness and the characters and I really think you will enjoy Queen of the Night more!

  10. Ummm... yeah... Not sure this one is for me, but like you, I do admire the author's ability to write something so very far off the beaten path.

  11. ...yikes. This is my first time hearing about this book, and there's no way in hell I would have guessed the plot from that cover. It looks like a summery, light-hearted contemporary book.

  12. Lovely review Lisa. This does sound a bit odd but I'd like to give it a go (someday). :)

  13. I might just pick this up because this review? WildGirl reminds me of a girl I used to know. :)


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