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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027
Girl at Sea - Maureen Johnson Much like with Devilish, I rank this among the weaker of Maureen Johnson’s works. I like the plot, I the characters, and I like the set-up…until I get to the end and I’m left going “Wait, what?” And I end up wanting so much more from it than what I got. The premise is very strong. I like the set-up of Clio having to be shipped off to sea with her not-very reliable dad and having come to terms with their relationship. I like that Clio is frustrated with no one telling her exactly why they’re on this trip in the first place and that she also calls people out for keeping secrets from her. It’s mentioned later on that Clio’s brash personality is the result of the accident that drove her parents’ marriage apart, but I really didn’t get that from her. (More like she was brash and bitchy because no one would tell her anything.) Aside from the sudden “Omg, you like the designated love interest, you’re now my rival,” I also really liked Elsa’s character. (Oh, how I hate the automatic rival. Haaaate.) I liked that she’s just as frustrated as Clio with the situation and responds with booze and trying to make the best of everything. Aidan is okay, although his only purpose is to be the frustrating love interest—I wish there had there been more to flesh him out. I do wish that the adults had been more fleshed out, specifically, Clio’s dad and Julia. (I did like that Julia and Clio start warming up to one another.)There are several reasons why this doesn’t work for me. First, there are several flashbacks interspersed throughout the book detailing the life of Maguerite Magwell and her continuing her father’s archeology work. I get the thematic reasons of including in them, but largely they feel like they’re hitting the reader over the head repeatedly. The flashbacks also don’t help in that you can guess what Clio’s father and Julia are looking for very early on in the book and Clio herself doesn’t find out why until about a hundred and fifty pages in. Second, Clio’s aforementioned brash personality when it comes to guys. We only ever see her interact with two love interests in the whole book. We rarely get any mention of previous crushes/love interests. It just doesn’t fit anywhere. I didn’t get the idea that she was brash; Clio feels very much like a teenage girl throughout the whole thing. And the whole lead-up in the climax and Clio’s growth is that she’s never been kissed. I don’t mind the romance angle in this, but it feels like her growth should have been more with her father than rather making out with Aidan.And there’s the random thugs who show up in the end. What. Just…what. Again, they’re barely alluded to early on, and it feels like a last minute addition to the book. It’s an enjoyable read, but I have a lot of issues with the developments. I want more from this book, and in comparison to Maureen Johnson’s other books, this really comes up short.