Title: The Innocents
Author: Lili Peloquin
Series: The Innocents #1
Published: October 16, 2012
Opening Sentence: “Her sister’s last words hung in the air: ‘You’re just jealous because I belong here and you don’t.'”
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Nothing ever came between sisters Alice and Charlie.
Their family falling apart never would.
Until they got to Serenity Point.
She loved her sister. She hated her sister.
Though they share the same blood, Alice and Charlie couldn’t be more different. Alice is older (by one year and one day), shy and reserved, a cool blonde, a painter, a reader, a thinker. Charlie is feisty and uninhibited, a wild brunette, the kind of girl who punches a bully right in the mouth. They hate each other. They love each other. They stand by each other, when no one else will. They’re sisters.
Then their parents divorce. Their father moves across the globe. And their mother remarries so quickly they might have blinked and missed the whole thing. Richard Flood The Third is a man who looks and acts exactly as his name suggests. A man who is rich and lonely. And one who has skeletons in his closet: a previous life of which he seldom speaks, and that haunts him still.
Soon, Alice, Charlie, and their mother are leaving their old life behind. They’re saying goodbye to their cramped Cambridge apartment and driving along the rocky Connecticut coastline—to Richard’s summer estate in the wealthy town of Serenity Point, a place he hasn’t returned to in over a year.
The minute they drive through the gates, they wish they never had.
They are watched with fear and fascination. Their arrival reopens old wounds, memories of lost loves, best friends—and bitter rivals. The people of Serenity Point thought the past was dead and buried. They were wrong.
I went into The Innocents with basically no insight to the story whatsoever. I knew it’s Young Adult Contemporary, so you can imagine the type of thing I was expecting–summer romance, school troubles, family troubles, maybe an accident or something. While there is some of that in this book, it’s completely different from what I had thought it would be. Maybe if I hadn’t have reserved any expectations for it I wouldn’t have been disappointed or disgruntled. (Obviously.)
The story itself was interesting enough, I guess… if a million and one things about it were changed. It seemed extremely melodramatic more than once, like a soap opera, and by the end I was calling bullshit. Not that I completely hated the book. I kept reading and that says something, but I started disliking it more and more as I went along. The author’s writing leaves something to be desired and I have some woes with a particular character.
I hate Alice, the main character (one of them, at least). She’s so annoying. She’s paranoid, self-centered, nosy, and prone to make assumptions that are often incorrect. Not little assumptions like “You ate the last cookie!”, but big ones like “You killed XYZ!”. I’ll admit, sometimes she is correct in her Sherlock Holmes stories, but she’s so quick to assume things that I feel like I never got on board with her because she was always just being crazy again. Speaking of which, I sort of hope she does turn out to have some sort of mental illness, because her actions and the way she thinks are too unwarranted and that would totally explain it.
Alice’s character would be pretty interesting if it was the author’s motive to have her seem crazy, but the thing is: I’m not entirely sure that’s what Lili Peloquin meant to do. That, I’m sure is one of my biggest problems with the whole novel. Is the author purposely weaving this crazy shit together because it’s how Alice is seeing things, or is she (the author) just trying too hard and failing? The whole time I was reading I was thinking about reading the next book to get some sort of explanation, but I’m not positive I want to spend my time on this story anymore. Alas.
(I’ve shortened the next part of the review. If you want to see what I originally wrote there’s a second page to this post you can check out below.)
Also, about the author’s writing style: There are so many inconsistencies in the grammar and style of writing in this book. From point of view problems to the use of commas in place of the word “and”, it was sometimes extremely annoying. Usually grammar mistakes can be passed by and forgotten, but I feel like if they confuse the reader at all the author and/or the editor should have caught them, and when they don’t it reflects on them as lazy and sloppy. This is the case with The Innocents. And while I didn’t quit the book because of the problems, I do look down on it more than I would have had there been less wrong.
For the most part, I don’t think I’ll ever read this book again and I’m unsure if I’ll even give the second book in the series a try. You may like it, I don’t know, but the story was trying too hard and I just couldn’t enjoy it.
ETA: I know this review seems pretty harsh on the book, and I suppose you’re probably right. It wasn’t the worst book I ever read, nor was it the best. I don’t want you to feel like you shouldn’t read the book just because I didn’t like it. You may love it, I don’t know. Everything written in this and all of my reviews is my opinion and I hope it won’t ever keep you from giving a book a try if you feel like reading it. And take what I say with a grain of salt because my views on books (and life in general) are never static. (: