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The Ninja Reader

High-brow or downright pretentious, good PNR or sparkly vampires, I don't care about the premise so long as it entertains me.

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Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self
Laura Martocci
Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick True story: The night after I first read this book I came down with a fever so nasty my mother nearly called an ambulance (she did, but their lazy asses wouldn't be bothered). I, like any naturally sane person, thought that it was because of this that my perseption of the book of was somehow skewed. Imagine my surprise, when I read it again, I came down with another fever that kept me up for two nights in a row, and resulted in a virus I couldn't shake off for three weeks.And if this isn't reason enough for you not to pick this book up, fear not, dear readers, for there is much more to hate.Nora Gray is just your average Bella Swan wannabe - perfectly alone, marginally smart, passably attractive and completely senseless. She comes across the Man with the Secret Past aka Patch (seriously, though, did behindthename.com run out of suggestions) and is immediately and inexplicably drawn to him. Then shit happens because these things supposedly need a paranormal mystery, all of which is then wrapped up in one of the most bizzare and confusing ways imaginable.I will not rant about how stalking is turning into a preferred form of showing affection. I will not talk about how Nora's suspicions make me wish Patch gave her a cold look and say: "Stalk? Who would want to stalk you?" I will not say how her attempts at being rational make my head hurt. Instead, I will rant how all these elements are mixed up and make my head hurt.Here's the thing - while Patch is fairly decent on the modern YA heroes scale, and Nora can actually be tolerated, none of the characters seem to be able to make up their mind about their roles in the story. I kept getting the feeling that the author was trying to build suspence and create a good atmosphere and make a decent mystery to keep the reader occupied, and in the next moment she thought something along the lines of: "Fuck it, everyone knows what this story is about." Even the characters, at some point, don't act because that's the logical thing for them to do, but rather, because it's expected of them. Serious, uptight Nora is uneasy about her creepy new lab partner, and her best friend Vee suggests they bust into the school records to look up his file - okey-dokey, great idea, let me just do this horribly risky and out-of-character move because it might let me see his immunisation charts.Another thing that really, really irks me about this book (hell, about this genre) is how the friends of the titular female character are portrayed. Now, given I've read my share of YA books (the first ones, anyway), I seem to notice a trend. Human friends need to be: a) slutty, self-centered and/or jealous (Jessica from "Twilight", Haven from "Evermore")b) nonexistent (Angela, Luce's "best friend" who only gets two mentions)c) dorky, but devoted (Penn from "Fallen")d) dead (Penn again)Vee, oddly enough, falls into none of these cathegories. No, she's spunky, she tries to eat healthily and fails, is irrational and probably has aspirations of becoming a battered housewife with the way he reacts when a guy acts like a total douche. Seriously, if my best friend told me some guy arrived drunken at her doorstep and physically threatened her, I would have suggested pepper spray and a restraining order, not jumped in the guy's defence!Also, while Vee seems fond of the B&E shenanigans, she is extremely averse to getting caught. I should add boy-obsessed, but I'd go with Jessica Darling here and say that "Women will always choose the man over the best friend". Besides, aren't all best friends like that? *insert sarcastic jokes here, here and here*One of the pluses of this book, as far as its genre goes, is that Patch doesn't dwell too much on his bad past. Admittedly, that makes him even more of a douchebag, but he's a step up from whiny vampires. Still, I cannot go over the fact that the characters were annoying, the writing was confusing, and, quite frankly, another week of nosebleeds, fever and sore throat hasn't warmed me up to this book at all. I gave it a three, but knock back another star for the extremely unhealthy friendship lessons. Guys, take my advice, pick "The Lonely Hearts Club" or "Unwind" instead.