Monday, October 6, 2014

REVIEW: PLEASE, PRETTY LIGHTS BY INA ZAJAC

It’s September when good girl Via Sorenson stumbles into a Seattle strip club, drunk and alone on her twenty-first birthday. Matt and Nick—best friends, bandmates, and bouncers—do their best to shield her from their sadistic cocaine-trafficking boss, Carlos. They don’t realize her daddy issues come with a forty-million-dollar trust fund and a legacy she would do anything to escape. 

She is actually Violetta Rabbotino, who had been all over the news ten years earlier when her father, an acclaimed abstract artist, came home in a rage, murdered her mother, then turned the gun on himself. Young Violetta was spared, hidden behind the family Christmas tree, veiled by the mysticism of its pretty lights whose unadulterated love captivated and calmed her.

Now, desperate to shed her role as orphaned victim, Via stage dives into a one-hundred-day adventure with Matt and Nick, the bassist and drummer of popular nineties cover band Obliviot. The rock-and-roll lifestyle is the perfect distraction—until she is rattled by true love. As Christmas looms closer, her notorious past becomes undeniable. How will she ever untangle herself from her twisted string of pretty lights?

Published by Booktrope Editions (first published July 21st 2014)
copy provided from the publishers for an honest review

BUY IT : here


REVIEW:

This looked a little different than our norm and so we thought we'd give it a try. Yep! The cover was so interesting. I immediately thought: Band! and wanted to read it. 

It is a little different. First thing you will notice is that all of the major players in this novel have chapters devoted to telling their story. Via, Nick, Matt, and Carlos each pop in to further the plot and get us in their heads a little. And while I found it a little confusing and sometimes disorienting, it was definitely something I hadn't experienced in my reading in a while. We learn about their idiosyncrasies and quirks and why they are the way that they are. It helps explain their actions and behaviors (or lack of behaviors), often after the fact. Things that I found curious or interesting were often explained and I found that satisfying.

Simple characters, these were not. I think that it was a little jarring at first with the point of view changes because we weren't sure where things were headed. I know I had an idea of what might be going on with Via, but I wondered would the ending be what I hoped it would be? Do I want to take the journey with these people? Yes, in the long run I did. It was wild the way things blended together though...and then, I kind of loved them in my own way, and maybe even understand them now. I love that feeling, no matter how I got there.

Even with all of the characters having a chance to tell their story, the story really begins and ends with Via. Her story really is tragic--but what is interesting are the choices she makes to try to free herself from the things binding her to her past, feeling guilt and obligation because of it, and her journey with her new friends (and Carlos) to try to figure out how to navigate her present and future.

Via is mega complicated. And I realize the things that happen here are definitely the extreme parts of a coming of age story, it is indeed just that. She just turns 21 at the beginning of our story and chooses the most out of this world fashion to bring it in with a bang and shed her good girl image. She goes to a strip club and signs up for this insane dancing contest that has her letting a strange, albeit cute, boy paint her boobs. Hhhmmm, I thought, and then it was on. I wanted to know where they would go from there. 

I think this novel had a ton of potential. The premise suggested a gritty, raw story and it definitely had those elements; it just didn't quite come together for me the way I wanted it to. Perhaps it was the multiple POVs or the editing that wasn't quite working for me? I don't know. And I think that I owe Shel big time for preparing me for that. It wasn't as jarring for me simply because she told me what to expect. So, bloggy partner, I heart you...but am bummed that you didn't have that. 

I wanted to like it and I'm glad I gave it a chance, it just didn't quite draw me in, in the beginning and I found my interest waning the further I read. I wanted to know if the payout would be worth it. And that might make me sound like a pretentious ass, but we do spend a lot of time with these books, so I can't apologize for that. I honestly think it was. The more I read, the harder it got. There is a lot of depth there in Via, but the choices she makes...make her hard to root for as a heroine. She is definitely an anti-heroine, and I think that made me connect with her in the end. We don't see that enough. G-Daney (my favorite character of all) helped her own it. And that made it complete for me. 

Many people enjoyed it and it may just be the perfect thing for you. So, if you try it out, let us know what you think. Indeed. Bookish discussion are our favorite! 

About the author:


Ina Zajac is an award-winning journalist, avid people watcher, and lover of quirk and contrast. Her writing is heavily influenced by her fascination with music, art, and her hometown of Seattle.

CONNECT WITH INA ZAJAC:  http://inazajac.com/

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