Saturday, December 19, 2015

Carefully Everywhere Descending by L.B. Bedford

Audrey Anderson has one chance to escape poverty—excel academically and get into a good school. She’ll let nothing stand between her and her goal: not dating and certainly not snotty Scarlett West. The girls can’t stand each other, so why is Scarlett hanging around Audrey and getting under Audrey’s skin—in more ways than one?

Scarlett needs a tutor, and Audrey doesn’t want the job. She still resents Scarlett offering to pay Audrey to do her homework, but her compassionate best friend talks Audrey into giving Scarlett a second chance. The more time they spend together, the harder it becomes for Audrey to fight her growing attraction to the other young woman.

At the same time, Audrey’s interest in her new neighbor’s bizarre behavior gnaws at her, and she can’t leave the mystery alone. Her relentless curiosity might cost her everything.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I believe young adults would enjoy the story – I'm reading and reviewing from an adult standpoint.

Audrey is from a lower-income family, struggling to simply put food in their bellies. Their living situation is destitute, and added on top of that is the fact that Audrey's mother is bipolar.

"Show, not tell," is a writer's standard. In most instances, Audrey's uncomfortable life was told, not shown (sometimes at ad nauseam) and I wish this had been fleshed out more to develop Audrey's character instead of making her sound whiny in monologue and dialogue. But it did create the chip on her shoulder that pushed the storyline forward. This would have hit harder if the reader had been shown, not just heard about it, to truly get that punch to the gut sensation.

Determined to change her fate, Audrey is working her tail off in High School to ensure she makes it to college. Forward and a bit controlling, Audrey comes off as a good role model with her work ethic and moral compass but she's a bit short-sighted in the fact that what is right for her may not be right for her older brother. Know-it-all-ish, which can be grating on the reader, because how did a younger sister at her age have the life experience to know more than anyone else (true to how most teenagers think, I guess).

Drama keeps trying to pull her under as she fights to float back to the top, where the reader is hit with the woe-is-me tale of a girl who just doesn't seem to catch a break, which gets a bit old for someone of my 'advanced' age.

Audrey didn't freak out for falling for a girl. She had no doubts and rolled with it. There was no family drama on this front. Everyone was very understanding and tolerant. Not that they shouldn't have been, but in a LBGTQ novel you'd expect a few hiccups. In a way, this felt like a backseat issue, not in the foreground of the storyline even if it was a book about a girl crushing and falling in love with another girl.

Carefully Everywhere Descending's pacing is on the slow side, a story about first love, with the all the angst and drama you'd expect from a Young Adult novel. The romance is light. The crush and the economic state of Audrey take up most of the book. But then a side story thread kind of pops out of nowhere to add some depth to the story, but it just felt unfinished and like it was thrown in there and didn't fit the overall flow. It was bizarre, actually.

Genre: Young Adult | Young Adult romance (lesbian) | Coming-of-age | A bit of an unnecessary suspense/thriller thrown in at the end adding violence |

Age-range: 14+

L.B. Bedford is a librarian who loves the thrill of inhabiting a good story. She has more ideas for books than she does excuses for getting out of awkward social interactions. Since her last girlfriend, she has entered the harrowing and amusing world of online dating. This form of communication makes sense to her, since she is almost permanently online anyway.

On any given day, she will be reading, writing, running, learning to code, taming her sewing machine, playing the piano, or taking advantage of all the free online courses available in a multitude of subjects. She loves cooking, sushi, and trying to kick her pasta habit. A former cat owner, she has not yet made a commitment to her next cat, though she does have the name picked out (Thor: Cat of Thunder). She lives in the Washington, DC area, where she continues to plan for more cultural events than she ends up attending.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Carefully Everywhere Descending by L.B. Bedford to read and review.

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