Monday, May 24, 2010

Review - "In the Spotlight (Mayne Attraction)" by Ann Mauren

I was given this book to review by the author who put it on Smashwords, so this was actually my first experience with it. I haven't researched it much, but I think it's an interesting venture. However, that's not what this review is about, so I guess we should get right to it..

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me to review by the author. I have not received any money in exchange for a review.

Type: Modern YA fiction, Romance

From the back of the book: " Ellery Mayne is a high school girl who makes a disturbing discovery. After a foiled abduction attempt, she realizes that an entire team of security personnel are secretly shadowing her every move. As she works to make sense of this startling development, she secretly transitions from the one who is being observed to the one who carries out observations of her own, testing the limits of a secret service detail who think they are conducting transparent surveillance on a clueless teenager.
When the mystery behind the secret security unravels, Ellery is faced with decisions that involve her future and the hopes of two unlikely love interests: A handsome but conflicted security agent who doesn't realize she knows about him, and her first love - a boy that broke her heard - who has returned to explain his actions and his feelings for her. Told from Ellery's perspective, she puzzles over what could interest not one but two handsome suitors and a whole security force. Suddenly this quiet loner realizes that her life is In The Spotlight and she is the Mayne Attraction. "

I saw some great potential in this book. Ellery is an interesting character, some of her quirky habits (looking up phobias, or even creating names for phobias), can resonate with the nerd in all of us. And I really like the idea of a girl being followed by a security team, with no clue why, and even conducting "experiments" to see what the team would do in certain situations.. That's wonderful. I think I'd love the chance to do something like that.

Unfortunately, this book fell short, at least in my opinion. I generally like the idea of a girl having two men who love her, and having to choose the right one between the two, or maybe she makes the wrong choice and the guilt eats at her.. either way, it can lead to some great drama. But in this situation, I was uncomfortable with it. In this book, Ellery is a senior in Highschool. She felt far too immature to be in this situation. I mean, she meets Ash, guy number 1, only in passing, and not even as her real self (she was dressed up in goth clothes at the time), and the next time she really converses with him, she tells him she loves him. And there was a fair amount of time between that first meeting, and the second, but Ash is only mentioned maybe once or twice. If she has been dwelling on him this entire time, why wasn't he mentioned more.

And Ash returns these feelings. Now, I can believe his position a little more. This is a guy who has been following her for months, watching her every move, watching out for her. In that scenario, I can see someone either completing hating or having an affection for their charge. In Ash's case, it was affection. But he's supposed to be older (I won't go into how old, since it's a mystery until near the end of the book), but he really doesn't act like it. I had a very hard time dealing with his real age, after seeing how he acted since he started actually talking to Ellery.

Back to Ellery, she seemed to get too easily attached to people. Which isn't a bad thing, for the most part, I'm the same way. But there's a difference between getting attached and liking someone.. and getting attached in a creepy stalker way. I think Ellery leans a bit to the other side. She has "heroines" she loves, and idolizes them. This, again, makes her seem far younger than she should be.

Despite all that, there were some aspects I liked. In the end, Ellery finally did some much-needed growing up. She stood up for herself, and made a decision that will eventually lead all of the characters into the second book in this series called "In the Smoke." I think, initially, the way Ellery went about the ending was a good idea. Her plan was sound and made sense. At the same time, what she did to give herself some time to think all this through was extremely risky, possibly dangerous, and parts of it seemed rather illegal. And the people who helped her along.. it just didn't seem reasonable.

As I said, I saw some potential in this story, and in this author. She has an interesting voice, and her descriptions of some of the scenery Ellery gets to see near the end are beautiful. Maybe when Ellery returns, she will be more of an adult, and hopefully Ash will do some serious growing up as well.

All that said and done, I'm giving "In the Spotlight" a TWO out of FIVE. As I said, plenty of potential.. but still quite a ways to go. If you would like to purchase "In the Spotlight (Mayne Attraction)" by Ann Mauren, you can find it at Smashwords.

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