This week’s book review is The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George.
Whidbey Island may be only a ferry ride from Seattle, but it’s a world apart. When Becca King arrives there, she doesn’t suspect the island will become her home for the next four years. Put at risk by her ability to hear “whispers”–the thoughts of others–Becca is on the run from her stepfather, whose criminal activities she has discovered. Stranded and alone, Becca is soon befriended by Derric, a Ugandon orphan adopted by a local family; Seth, a kindhearted musician and high school dropout; Debbie, a recovering alcoholic who takes her in; and Diana, with whom Becca shares a mysterious psychic connection.
This compelling coming-of-age story, the first of an ongoing sequence of books set on Whidbey Island, has elements of mystery, the paranormal, and romance. Elizabeth George, bestselling author of the Inspector Lynley crime novels, brings her elegant style, intricate plotting, incisive characterization, and top-notch storytelling to her first book for teens. (Synopsis from Goodreads)
Let me just say I know Whidbey Island. It’s like a second home to me. I know every nook and cranny of Langley, can walk the streets of Bayview and Freeland with my eyes closed (not that I’ve tested it), and know the beaches better than some of the locals. So, as you can imagine, I was excited to find this book was set on Whidbey.
The first time I read it (when I was twelve), I loved it, found it amazing. However, reading it again, a few years later…well, let’s just say it wasn’t all that I remembered it being.
Let’s start with the plot.
The plot itself seems interesting. A girl who can hear parts of her thoughts in her head (whispers), is on the run from an evil stepfather who had murdered his business partner and will kill the MC (Becca) for knowing.
Well, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about Becca trying to fit in and about a boy who fell down a bluff and is in a coma.
The plot felt half-baked and dumbed down, like the author felt as if the teenagers reading this wouldn’t understand it. She spelled things out with too much detail, and added unneeded things.
And the characters. Oh, the characters.
Becca King is not what I wanted nor expected her to be. She is nervous, shallow, and not all that smart. She’s trying to fit in so if her stepfather somehow traces her to Whidbey, he wouldn’t recognize her. She does that with a bad haircut and loads of gloppy makeup. I would think that would make her stand out more than fit in.
All the others can easily be fit into the YA stereotypes. The cute love interest. The brooding musician. The mean girl. The jerk. I had a hard time of thinking of them like real people.
Also, about the wording and the language.
The wording was awkward and choppy, and she spent way too much time describing trees. Way to much time. And about the language the characters used…it’s like she’s trying too hard to have the characters use ‘teenager-speak’. The characters are always using the word “chick” to describe a girl. I don’t know ONE teenager that says that.
And Derric. The adopted African-American boy who falls down the bluff and goes into a coma. Apparently he and Becca are supposed to have this “connection”, even thought they have maybe met once. And I don’t think Intensive Care in the hospital would let a parade of people come in and out all day.
And so many details about Whidbey are wrong. Whidbey doesn’t have a tick problem. Also, Whidbey General Hospital isn’t equipped to take care of a coma patent. Derric would have been taken off-island to a bigger hospital.
The mystery of this book wasn’t a mystery at all. Elizabeth George should stick to writing what she knows, which clearly isn’t YA fiction.
The only thing that’s saving this book from getting one star is one character. That’s it. One character. And the character is question isn’t even a main character, he’s the grandfather of a main character.
Two stars. ✩✩
If you want to read this, don’t buy it. Check it out from the library.