Wednesday, April 11, 2012
This Is Shyness
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.