Tuesday, August 13, 2013

This is W.A.R.

This is W.A.R.
by Lisa Roecker and Laura Roecker
Soho Teen, 2013
Audience:  High School
ISBN:  9781616952617
Publication Date:  July 2, 2013

Everyone has a different memory of what happened on July 4, but they all know one thing-Willa Ames-Rowan was killed by James Gregory.  But justice doesn't come swiftly at Hawthorne Lakes Country Club, especially when it comes to convicting a Gregory.  Four girls-Marge, Sloane, Lina, and Rose-are brought together by their love for Willa to avenge her death and make the Gregory's pay.  Little do they know that they are being targeted too, and this whole mystery goes deeper than they understand.  Another revenge fantasy from the author's of The Liar Society with plenty of action and deception, but a lackluster ending.  The Roecker Sisters coming along but not quite there yet.

I am really starting to think that Revenge Fiction is the next Dystopia.  Either that or they have a way of finding me.  I picked up This is W.A.R. for a very ridiculous reason:  a free necklace.  I'm a sucker for a giveaway.  I pre-ordered Scarlet for lip gloss.  So, I pre-ordered This is W.A.R. for a cheap faux-gold key necklace that I likely could have picked up at Claire's, but it's kinda cute and the book was pretty good, so no harm done.

The revengers (revenger-seekers, revenge-a-nistas?) were well drawn characters that each had their own reasons for feeling guilty about Willa's death.  Marge, the step-sister, was angry with Willa for leaving the boat at all that night and felt like she should have done more.  Sloane, the not-so-perfect daugther, also feels like she could have stopped Willa from getting so wasted.  Lina, the attention sneaking friend, knows that she wasn't the best friend to Willa.  Rose, the outcast, wishes that she had gotten to know Willa better while she was alive.  Each of these girls have their own secrets and tell the story from their own point of view.  The lead characters are the most compelling part of this story.

The villains are a little shallow.  Grandpa Gregory, or The Captain, is your stereotypical country club aristocrat and is willing to pay off the town to keep his good name.  His grandsons, Trip and James, are also one dimensional.  James is lost to booze and Trip is just psycho, although we never quite learn why Trip is the psycho one.  I'm not sure if there will be a sequel, but it seems to me like the reader needs to learn more about Trip.

I was cruising along with his book just fine until the ending, which went something like this "You're right.  We've entirely been covering this up, and we've successfully succeeded in framing you, but he's a sick boy and should be punished.  The End, now go have some ice cream."

That was fast.  It felt too simple, too clean, too easy.  I don't buy it.  And if there is another book, which I keep thinking there has to be, I'm not sure how long it can really keep the reader hooked.

But This is W.A.R. was better then The Lies that Bind, I'll give the authors that.  They are coming along, but they do need to work on creating a more complex ending.  I have no doubt that they will get there, but by then, revenge fiction may have gone the way of shiny vampires.

Happy Reading!

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