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03 April 2012 @ 08:27 pm
My Soul to Keep Review  
It's a been a while, huh? With my birthday tomorrow, I figure it's time to give the writing world a little love.

And that means another book review (and then probably also a fanfic tomorrow sometime). This time we have My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent. Ah man, I have some fun things to say about this one.

  As always, please assume that this is chock full of spoilers. I've read everything that's currently been published except the last book, so I will not hold back.

  This is a difficult book for a lot of reasons. It does a lot with proving where Rachel Vincent is at as an author-- she really does make you believe that the things that are happening to her characters are what they think they are. A good compare and contrast to this might be Alyson Noel. I'm also a fan of Noel's books, but sometimes when Ever's thinking something I'm like "come on, girl, you know you don't even believe that yourself." It's easy for the reader to believe what Kaylee is thinking about Nash's addiction, because, well, Vincent makes it believable. Her character is able to be fooled by things, sure, but one of the reasons we're as readers able to be fooled by them as well is because of Vincent's skill.

 Kaylee is someone who questions things, who doesn't like it when other people leave her in the dark. She's the kind of person who wants to get to the bottom of things, and that's the kind of narrator that a reader can relate to. Both of us are looking for the truth and trying to get a pretty grip on what's happening. It's the fact that Vincent makes Kaylee's reasoning so real and sensical for her character that we don't want to disagree, point out all the bad things that are happening that she doesn't pick up on. I really liked that about this book.

 Which is cool, because there are a lot of things about this book that are uncomfortable subjects for me-- like the idea of addiction. I guess I've just finally realized that I have an obsessive personality, and so the idea of people getting hooked on things that are so...not of the mind, I guess? as drugs, drinks, etc. is one that I'm not a fan of. Like Kaylee, I'm a control freak, too. And I love that about this character. Yeah, she's going through her adolescence and she's goofing up in the ways that all of us awkward smart girls did back in the days of high school, but she's also going to the same conclusions as we are, acting the same way as we did. I like that a lot. It's like my questions get answered as I read. I think that that takes a special kind of author to be able to pull that off. So, yeah, while I'm not particularly comfortable with the material of the story, I also really like this book a lot.

And hey, should a book be something that makes you comfortable? Some, maybe. Yeah, there are some books that I read before bed because I need to relax, but I think that ultimately a book's job is to make you think. I feel pretty lucky that I didn't have the same problems that Kaylee has to deal with in this book, but I also really like the fact that I get a perspective on all this, as someone not involved, it's really cool to see this from a distance (and also up close through Kaylee).

But yeah, back to the topic at hand. While it is always wonderful to see Tod acting the badass, I'm probably going to have to break my streak of liking Tod the best and say that my favorite thing about this book was the way in which it was told. I don't think that an author of lesser caliber would have been able to pull this off. When you have a character who's as likeable as Kaylee is because she's perceptive and smart, it's really difficult to fool them, make them believe something while casually dropping hints that there's something that they don't see. On top of that, it's difficult to keep your hints well-disguised and to make sure that your character isn't sounding like a total nutcase because they refuse to see things right in front of her.

What I like most about Kaylee, as opposed to some of her other female protagonist counterparts, is that she's relateable. When Kaylee says that she believes Nash and decides to go along with all his wacky plans, I believe her. She knows that it's maybe not the best idea, but she likes the guy and she doesn't fawn over him and cave easily-- she has her own thoughts and opinions, but it's just out of fond she is for the guy. As a reader, you can see that. Too many times I get stuck with a highly unbelievable female character that has me rolling my eyes, wishing that she'd stop being a doormat. Kaylee's not that. You understand all the choices that she makes and how she's still being herself, but compromising in a relationship rather than giving in to everything because her boyfriend says it's the right thing to do.

And even though it's really hard for her to do at the end, I love that she doesn't stick it out with Nash, that she lets him go. It breaks your heart, because even if you've never shipped Nash/Kaylee (like me), you still don't want to see them end it. But the fact is that your high school crush is rarely the person that you spend your life with. You make mistakes, you have a fun time with people and then it becomes less fun. I was always kinda shocked with the YA market kept putting out books where the high school heroine finds her One True Love during sophomore year. How do you know? You don't. Vincent pushes a lot of boundaries, both with the drug use, the break-up, and a whole slew of other things (the fact that Addision, a really nice character, basically has a horrible time because of one bad decision-- but it's consequences). It's the fact that Vincent doesn't let her characters off easy--- she plays them to their full potential-- that's what makes me like this series so much. You know that everyone is trying their damnedest and that makes you really feel for them.