My Rating – 2 3/4 Stars
I received a free digital copy of this novel from Netgalley on behalf of Diversion Books in exchange for a fair review
Portia Griffin can’t speak. She has never been able to speak though doctors can’t figure out why. She has been able to lead a pretty normal life, despite her disability; she has loving parents and an amazing best friend, Felix (Actually, she’s pretty perfect in every way except the no voice thing). She is completely obsessed with music and Apple (Apple as in Steve Jobs) and Harry Potter.
The start of her sophomore year things start to change. There is a strange and painful tightening in her throat, an ache in her back, and sudden mood swings.
She also meets Max Hunter, a gorgeous musical prodigy new to her school and of course immediately interested in Portia. He writes her (bad, very bad) songs and they have a bit of an insta-love story (even though she occasionally dreams about murdering him). Poor Felix is friendzoned (in the very sense of the word. He’s a bit of a dick). It’s very clear from their first interaction that he is totally head over heels in love with Portia and her complete blindness to it is downright annoying.
Every time she starts to feel one of these attacks coming on, she visits the school nurse Ms. Leucosia, who gives her cryptic messages about how she’ll always be there for Portia whenever she needs her.
One day during the bus ride home, Portia is hit with one of these attacks and she is so terrified she hops off the bus and runs to her neighbor and former friend Charlotte’s house. She hears yelling and barges in to find Charlotte’s stepfather beating Charlotte’s mom. Portia suddenly understands why Charlotte became so distant and she is so overcome with emotion she begins to sing.
Her voice is the most beautiful sound in the world and also hypnotic, she convinces the step-dad to jump down a well (He survives unfortunately). Portia is so confused by her new voice and the incident at Charlotte’s house that for weeks she hides the fact that she can finally speak.
Finally one night at a club where Max is performing, a fight breaks out between Max and Felix and Portia is convinced that the only way to stop the fight is to sing. Everyone is transfixed, except Felix, because he can’t hear her.
Ms. Leucosia comes to the rescue and reveals that Portia is a Siren. A mythical being with a beautiful voice and special powers. Leucosia is one of the Sirens from the Odyssey and that her two sisters are evil and are plotting to pull Portia to the dark side. The dark side includes killing men for fun and eating them (which explains the dreams about Max). Portia must decide if she is going to use her powers for good or evil.
I wanted to like this book, it has to do with Mythology after all, but it fell flat. Really flat. Mostly because of the poetry and song lyrics. They were terrible. And cheesy. Portia even raps at one point. The overall writing was too…flowery. Portia describes Max’s voice as chocolate wrapped in sandpaper (what?!).
I didn’t like Felix, like at all. He was getting mad at Portia for not realizing he loved her, for dating another guy even though he was dating another girl, and for not loving him. He was a douche.
Also the insta-live and the triangle bothered me. The random pop culture references seemed strange and forced. What kind of teenage girl uses “stevejobs” as her password? Portia compares herself to Bella. She uses the term “RPatz”. Also Leucosia is supposed to be her mentor and guide her through this transition and she does nothing to actually help Portia. She comes off as useless to me.
And authors, can we stop with this – “If we don’t stop now, I won’t be able to stop later.” That translates to “If we don’t stop fooling around before I get too horny, I’m going to rape you later.” It’s not hot, it’s creepy.
This book just didn’t do it for me.
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