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Monday, January 06, 2014

Defy by Sara B. Larson


While I by no means find this novel on a par with the best of YA novels, it kept my interest enough to finish it.  (I've just gone through a number of YA novels that I DNF, and quite a few that I did finished, but didn't bother to review.)

I'm thinking a lot about the YA novel genre lately and the impact they have on their readers, mostly young girls.  Even in fantasy, some semblance of reality should be included.  Yes?

OK, here goes the positive.

  • a female protagonist with brains and brawn
  • have to admit that I love the girl masquerading as a boy trope; always have.  Love it in Shakespeare, in fantasy, and in Korean drama.
And the negative:

  • feels derivative;  doesn't distinguish itself from the crowd
  • insta-love; even when Alexa is maintaining that she dislikes the prince, the attraction is there, and once she gets a look at him is all over.
  • no clue as to how Alexa manages bathroom details on a long journey, with two guys as tent mates
  • another main gripe I have about YA novels:  the simpering of young girls over male musculature.  'Cause now, really, how many teen-age boys are that developed?  And even though Damian may be a bit older--is that all it takes?  A beautiful body?  I find this as appalling (although reversed, as the current trend seems to be) as the "full lips, green eyes, big boobs" when describing the female protagonist.  Not opposed to having a little description of appearance, but when appearance trumps character and dialogue is mostly internal thoughts of "he/she is gorgeous; just look at his abs/her lips, etc. , I just think cartoon.
Read in Dec., 2013

NetGalley/Scholastic Press

YA/Fantasy.  Jan. 7, 2014.  Print version:  336 pages.


  1. That's too bad you have been reading some duds. I hope you find something amazing soon!

  2. There have been some good ones, too, Kelly. I'm just ready to see more YA novels that have a little more to offer.

  3. I had to laugh as I read the negatives you listed for Defy. That would fit quite a few YA books I've read--and many of which I enjoyed to some extent. It doesn't make your list any less true though.

  4. :)-- I've enjoyed some books that have more than one of the above negatives, too. I guess I'd just like to see authors put in a little more effort and a little more depth in relationships and dialogue.

    Ah well... I keep looking!