Friday, March 15, 2013

ARC Review: My Only by N.K. Smith

My OnlyFrom the blurb:

Shy, awkward Adam is resigned to sit on the sidelines of life, overshadowed by his outgoing and popular twin brother, Aaron. But when a free spirited new girl with a troubled past moves in across the street, Adam's eyes are opened to a new world of possibilities. Olivia Cartwright is a fun loving, beautiful girl whose philosophies on life give her a deeper understanding of the world around her. An instant connection between Adam and Olivia draws them closer, but why would anyone choose him when a better version exists? What will happen when Adam’s outgoing twin Aaron takes an interest in Olivia as well?

Plot: 5
Character development: 5
Writing: 2.5
Editing/proof-reading: 2

My rating overall:

Spoilers below. Proceed with caution.

My Only tells the story of Adam and his twin brother Aaron. Both have grown up without a mother, and it's long been Adam's belief that he's the reason for his mother's death. He's somewhat antisocial, a self-proclaimed nerd playing drums in his school's marching band and his friends' garage band, and has lived most of his life in the shadow of his identical twin, who's a complete opposite as a social butterfly and jock. He accepts this fate without question, until Olivia Cartwright moves in next door, to live with her grandparents. Both Adam and his brother are vying for this girl, and she becomes the catalyst for the changes Adam makes in his life and his outlook.

The author has crafted a beautiful story about sibling rivalry, teenage life, friendships, first love and tragic loss. She handles the difficult topics of the novel with great care. The book is written from the first person singular in Adam's perspective, which limits the insights into the other characters, but also allows the reader to fully get into his head and experience all the joy and pain and growth Adam goes through. His inner monologue connects the reader to this story and provides the means to really follow along as the story progresses. The climax is laced with pain and loss, and I shed a few tears of my own when reading the section of Adam's sheer insurmountable grief upon losing Olivia. And yet, Adam learns from the experience, keeps the memories alive and adopts the philosophies Olivia shared with him, which eventually help him move on.

The epilogue filled me with much hope for his future, and it was a near perfect ending for this book.

I waffled on the rating for a while. The message in the book is profound, but the writing overall leaves much to be desired. Also, proofreading and editing was not done to the extent I expected from a published novel. The name change needs to be fixed as this ARC still refers to the author's previous pseudonym. I hope much of this is corrected prior to official publication.

The writing overall is uneven. Some things are too elaborately explained, especially mundane tasks like setting a table or fixing dinner. It distracted from the story, and I suggest a good editing to tighten things up in those areas.

The author really shines when it comes to bringing across the emotional and philosophical journey of its hero, which was utterly believable and very memorable.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves YA stories that realistically deal with the pitfalls and triumphs of youth.

Thank you to Jenny at TWCS Publishing House for providing an ARC for review and encouraging me to read this book.

A copy of this book was provided to me for free by the publisher. This is a re-published version of a book written by the same author under a different pseudonym. A positive review was not promised in exchange for the free copy of this book.

Thank you for reading. Until next time,

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