Sunday, August 10, 2014

Review: Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen

Awakening Foster Kelly
by Cara Rosalie Olsen 

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: June 2013
Page Count: 672
Format: e-book
Source: via author (thank you!)

Goodreads Synopsis: If only a pile of wayward curls and the inability to stay on her feet were seventeen year-old Foster Kelly’s most pressing concerns. Unfortunately, stubborn hair and clumsiness is just the tip of it. It was only a mistake, but when at the age of five Foster is told “You don’t belong here” the result is one broken heart. These four carelessly spoken words have shaped and shadowed Foster, and now—a senior at Shorecliffs High School—she seeks the wallflower’s existence, denying herself the most casual of friendships, much too afraid that someone will see what Foster believes is certain: she does not belong anywhere – or with anyone. This reality would continue to suit her just fine, however . . .

Love has a long-standing history of undoing broken hearts.

Like a comet, an unexpected arrival knocks Foster out of the crowded, starry sky, sending her directly into the limelight. Exposed and afraid, she will attempt to regain anonymity; but it isn’t so easy now that someone is watching. He pursues this shy enigma, confronting Foster’s deepest fears head-on, and in the process falls wholly and completely in love with her. But there is something he is not saying; a secret capable of certain ruin. There are two probable outcomes: either he will break her heart once and for all, or he will heal it.

In the end, though, it is Foster who must decide if she is worth mending.


Review: I cannot say that I very often have authors message me on Goodreads asking if I would like to read and review their book. Usually this happens via email, and I have to admit that I was pleased when Cara Olsen DID message me on Goodreads. She wrote me a nice, detailed message asking me to read her book, giving me details about it, and warning me that the book was long and could take some time to read. I looked into the book, and was immediately interested. Sure, I was a little concerned about it being almost seven hundred pages, but the idea of reading a contemporary that long certainly had me intrigued. I would say that this length might cause problems for some readers. Young readers might not pick it up due to the size; however, I do urge you all to forget about the number of pages and simply jump into the story. It's very much worth it, I can assure you that.

Let's start with the one negative that I did have of the book, since there was only one, and then we will move on to all of the wonderful things. The vocabulary in this book was a bit difficult at times. Now, this is not to say the writing was bad because that would be far from the truth. Olsen's writing is amazing and descriptive, and it makes you fall in love with the story. However, some of the vocabulary was above my level, and as an English teacher and book lover, I feel like I have a decent vocabulary myself. There were times when I had to stop and look up a word, which tended to pull me out of the story, which was the last thing that I wanted. I do think that this might scare some young readers, but hopefully they will have the patience to simply look up the words they struggle with as well.

On to the positives! The plot development in this story was incredible. I am used to reading much shorter books, usually about 400 pages at most. Because of this, we are usually thrown into the story right away. This is not something that happens in this book, though. We have almost 700 pages to learn everything that we need, so we get some of the information slowly. While I was a little worried that I would get frustrated with this and give up, that was not the case. Once I was hooked, I needed to know what was going to happen next. Let me warn, this is not a story that should be read in one sitting, though. It has a lot of depth and detail, and there were many times that I just sat back and thought about what had happened. 

The characters were certainly the thing that made this story, though. We are introduced to Foster, who all of her life believes that she does not belong anywhere. Because of this, she decides that the best thing for herself is to become a wallflower; to keep to herself and befriend as few people as possible so that she does not have to lose them all. She is intelligent, musically talented, and clumsy. Overall, she is an amazing character and person, and I felt like I was put in her shoes throughout the whole story. I felt everything as she did, and I grew with her. And boy, oh boy, did this girl grow throughout the story! I do not think that I have ever seen another contemporary character grow so much throughout their story.

Foster was not the only great character in this book, though. Foster made two great friends, Jake and Emily, who happened to be a brother and sister duo. They were a great influence for Foster, and they were always causing me to laugh out loud as I read their parts in the book. Since Foster is so quiet and introverted. They were just the kind of friends that she needed. Along with that, Dominic was a wonderful love interest. We love seeing broken boys in our contemp stories, after all. Despite his own issues, he was trying to help Foster, and that was something that really stood out to me. Their chemistry was obvious, but I am glad that it was not insta-love. It was slow and built up, and it made me feel so many different things. 

I am still a little unsure about how I feel about the ending, though. I was not disappointed, just a bit surprised, I supposed. It left me thinking though, which I think is something that is very important. It's not one of those books that you just finish and push aside though. I kept thinking about fact, I still do. So much happened within this book that it would be impossible not to keep thinking about it, in fact. I fell in love with the characters, and in the end I did not want it to end because I was not ready to say goodbye to them, even if I had 700 pages with them. 

I do understand this book can seem a little intimidating when realizing just how many pages it is, but I urge you all to look past that and give this book a chance. While I was a little concerned and intimidated myself, I just jumped right in and I do not regret it one bit. It was beautifully written with amazing, relate able characters. I would certainly recommend this book to everyone.

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

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