Monday, September 2, 2013

Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery

Summary (from Goodreads):
Bryce remembers it like it was yesterday. The scent of chlorine. The blinding crack and flash of pain. Blood in the water.

When she wakes up in the hospital, all Bryce can think of is her disastrous Olympic diving trial. But everything is different now. Bryce still feels seventeen, so how can her little sister be seventeen, too? Life went on without her while Bryce lay in a coma for five years. Her best friend and boyfriend have just graduated from college. Her parents barely speak. And everything she once dreamed of doing—winning a gold medal, traveling the world, falling in love—seems beyond her reach.

But Bryce has changed too, in seemingly impossible ways. She knows things she shouldn’t. Things that happened while she was asleep. Things that haven’t even happened yet. During one luminous summer, as she comes to understand that her dreams have changed forever, Bryce learns to see life for what it truly is: extraordinary.
I had such high hopes for this one. For starters, besides the creepy angle of the girl on the cover, the book is gorgeous to look at. It’s every shade of the prettiest of blues, and I’m like still looking at, wishing the story were as intriguing as the cover. Also, the premise just sounded so cool.  What doesn’t sound cool about a girl waking up from a coma, after five years? Or an Olympic athlete making the biggest screw up of all screw ups? Or all of a sudden having supernatural abilities after loosing five crucial years (years that make an athlete or define the person you will eventually become)?
I guess I was hoping for a little more supernatural and a little less recovery/grief story. The book was definitely more about Bryce realizing how drastically people can change in five years and how much loss and grief can affect a family, than it was about the Olympic trials or about her new ability to see things. The book is about Bryce getting her strength back and finding her old friends, only to realize they are nothing like who they used to be.
Her best friend from high school is engaged to her boyfriend from high school. She feels betrayed because to her, it feel like no time has passed. But, her friends had to keep living without her, knowing that she most likely would never wake up. Bryce’s parents look like they’re steps away from a divorce (a messy one). And Bryce’s little sister stays out all night, comes home most nights drunk, and completely disrespects everyone.
There’s also some things that are clearly still wrong with Bryce, though no one seems to notice (besides her new hot med school love interest). Her test results weren’t good and her parents knew this, but no one forced her to go back to the hospital.
Spoilers are about to happen!

Normally, I would never go as far in a book review as to ruin an ending, but…I have to here. Because a large reason I ended up not liking this book as much as I could have was because the whole last quarter of it was about Bryce realizing she was going to die. By this point I understood that the book wasn’t really going to have much in the way of supernatural elements, and I was even growing to accept that it was a story about grief and recovery. But then, there is no more recovery!
Seriously, this book that had such a promising, uniquely done start, ended with the most cliché Life Time Original type finish. I was just getting into the somewhat sappy recovery story, and I was so angry to find out the book was turning into a goodbye story. This just ruined it for me.
It was interesting seeing Bryce adapt to her new, more adult body. It was fun getting to watch her interactions with her sister. I loved that she could see the future a little bit, and even remember things that happened from when she was in a coma. The love triangle drama with the ex-boyfriend and the best friend was a little rushed and not that great for me. I believe something like that could happen. I just feel like all the characters involved behaved/acted in a way that wasn’t that believable. Like if the boyfriend was really still clinging to the past, why propose to someone else at all? And I can’t believe anyone’s best friend would break such news in such a terrible way. And then the best friend just gets over things with no real resolution. I just never believed her as a character. Though, the flawed, kind of jerky boyfriend/fiancĂ© did seem a lot more real.
I also loved the romance between Bryce and the med school student. It was kind of adorable, and I wish I got more adorable date scenes with him. I loved Bryce too. I wanted her to recover, to find new dreams, to dive again, to fall in love again. I wanted her to go to college and meet new people. And frankly, this book wasn’t bad at all. I was really interested in it. I just kind of wish I stopped ¾ through.
This book had a great main character. The premise and the story were definitely interesting. I wished there was more in it about Bryce’s Olympic motivations. I wish there were a little more supernatural bits. And I really wish the author didn’t cop out with such an overdone ending/theme. And it’s not even a good overdone theme; it’s one that can turn a somewhat sappy/motivational book into an extremely sappy/not so motivational book. I give this one a 6/10.

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