Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Book Review: Life on Hold by Karen McQuestion

Title: Life on Hold
Author: Karen McQuestion
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Amazon Encore
Paperback, 168 pages
Date Published: April 1, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
When Rae Maddox begins yet another school in yet another town, a dangerous new friend forces her to finally take charge of her life — or risk losing everything and everyone she holds dear.
Praised as “one of the best new authors around,” bestselling Kindle author Karen McQuestion weaves her magic yet again in this contemporary coming-of-age novel that is sure to resonate with young-adult readers and parents alike.

Gina and Rae Maddox are more like best friends than mother and daughter. Of course, free-spirited Gina’s rambling ways leave her daughter with little opportunity to make any other friends, as they constantly crisscross the country in search of “a fresh start.” But when Gina brings them home to her native Wisconsin, she promises Rae that this time, they’ll stay least until Rae finishes high school. And when Rae begins to make friends at Whitman High, she dares to hope her mother is telling the truth. But then Rae is paired with another new girl, Allison Daly, whose bad attitude and unsettled family life put her at odds with Rae — yet draws her to Gina. When ugly rumors begin to fly about Allison’s past, Rae must choose between distancing herself from the troubled girl or using her own experience as an outcast to help her. The path she takes will not only change Allison’s life, it will affect Rae’s relationship with her mother and her understanding of her place in the world.

Life on Hold is a short, but enjoyable read. Rae’s situation – living a very nomadic, almost gypsy-like life with her mother – brings forth all kinds of feelings. Right away, I could understand how hard it must be for her to move constantly. She refuses to allow herself to get close to anyone because she knows she’s just going to lose them. Being inside Rae’s head made me hate her mother. While Rae is angry at her mom at times, she still loves her, but I never really connected with the positive feelings. Her mom is selfish and doesn’t think about Rae at all. In fact, there were times when she would guilt-trip Rae by saying she had to give up so much when she was younger and got pregnant. That, to me, is a bad mom alert.

Aside from my issues with Rae’s mom, the book was a good read. Allison was a little shrouded in mystery and her story was wrapped up in a bit of an unexpected way. I thought it would be a bit more dramatic, but it worked. The secondary characters like Nick, Mason, and Kylie are done well. They aren’t all that fleshed out, but are funny enough and add to Rae’s story.

I have to say that Rae felt a little flat to me. She had a backstory and is a relatively strong character, but she didn’t really jump off the page to me. It could be attributed to her personality – she’s a quiet, blend-in with the scenery kind of person – but I would have liked her to have been more fleshed out.

Life on Hold is another short, but good read from Karen McQuestion. The author has  a knack for packing an entire story into very few pages, but I think if she lengthened it a bit, the story could be even better.
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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Candace said...

I was considering reading another of her books, but with so many on my pile already...
But I'm glad you liked it ok. I think I'm much quicker to pick up a book if its short, but I know what you mean about not feeling like you really had a chance to connect with the characters.

Bere said...

Excellent review, Nikki. I have not read anything by Karen McQuestion but I will definitely look into her novels. Thank you, Nikki =).

~The Book Pixie said...

Okay yeah sounds like Rae's mom would annoy me too. And totally get what you are saying about how it could have benfitted from being longer. I seem to have read quite a few books like that. I don't know, I think I may pass on this one but I'm glad you liked it alright. Thanks for the honest review. :)


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