Book Report for Asunder (Newsoul Book 2) by Jodi Meadows

Graded By: Meghan Miller

Cover Story: Body Bag It

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BFF Charm: Jury's Still Out

Swoonworthy Scale: 7         

Talky Talk: Easy, Round And Round To Peasy

Bonus Factor: Anti-Xenophobia

Anti-Bonus Factor: Flutes         

Relationship Status: Casual Not-Quite-Pity Date

Note: This review contains minor spoilers for Incarnate

Asunder

Cover Story: Body Bag It

The only thing this cover has going for it is it's in keeping with the cover for the first book in the series, Incarnate. Unfortunately, that's also the WORST THING that could have happened. It looks like a 9-year-old Lisa Frank addict's first Photoshopping attempts for a Deviant Art fan wallpaper, and that's a whole lot of things to go wrong in one place. If the spacey look on the model's face is anything like Ana's, I just might excuse the people of Heart for calling her a nosoul.

The Deal:

Ana is slowly making a home for herself in Heart, despite being the only new soul in a city populated by people who have been reincarnated for the last 5,000 years (and you thought being the new kid in school was tough!). She has a hot boyfriend, a best friend and—best of all, IMO—a baker friend who gives her free pastries and coffee. Funny, though, all this isn't enough to help her ignore the jerks who want to kill her and the creeptastic walls of the city that pulse with the heartbeat of the evil, incorporeal Janan (who also wants to kill her). So she and Sam-the-boyfriend set out to find out the truth about newsouls, and uncover much more than they ever wanted to, including, but not limited to, suppressed memories and a government conspiracy.

BFF Charm: Jury's Still Out

BFF Maybe

When I reviewed Incarnate, I reserved judgment on Ana's BFF potential for later. It's later, and I'm still reserving judgment. Ana's a little less screwed up now, and little more self aware, but I haven't changed my mind about being friends with sulky people, and she's also committing the cardinal friendship sin of spending all her time with her boyfriend and not with her friends. Oh, and she keeps way too many secrets. Spill it, lady!

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

The romantic tension between Sam and Ana is what kept me powering through Incarnate, and it's still what hooks me. Meadows raises the will-they-or-won't-they stakes from second base to home plate, keeping the makeout sessions from getting boring. I knocked off a couple of points for Sam's existential angst over being 5,000 years old and dating a 19-year-old—that's a bit of a party killer.

Talky Talk: Easy, Round and Round To Peasy

Like its predecessor, there's not a lot of poetic meat to the writing. Unfortunately, this book suffers a bit from second-in-a-trilogy syndrome (I've gotta think of a better name than that). It meanders around, answering a few questions but mainly just unraveling already loose ends, before wrapping up with a giant, unresolved question mark. Some of the worldbuilding is fascinating, but I'd really like to see Ana's adjustment to not belonging because of one factor to still not belonging when that factor's turned on its head, and I didn't get enough of the secondary characters or anyone's motivations.

Bonus Factor: Anti-Xenophobia

Xenophobia

Meadows calls out xenophobia and racism in a not-too-sutble way, especially those of the institutional variety. That's always a good conversation to have.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Flutes

James Galway

Okay, okay, call me shallow, but I really have a thing about flutes. Sorry to all you flautists out there, but flute music makes me giggle and gag at the same time, which is not an easy feat (or very comfortable), so the endless fluting around—sadly, not a euphemism—Ana and Sam do was hard to take.

Casting Call:

I already cast Rachel Hurd-Wood as Ana and Henry Cavill as Sam, and don't see any reason to change it now, despite their ages. The lack of secondary characterization made it hard to cast anyone else.

Rachel Hurd Wood

Henry Cavill

Relationship Status: Casual Not-Quite-Pity Date

I had a decent time with this book, so I wouldn't call it a pity date, but it's definitely a book I wouldn't change plans for. If it called me up when I had nothing better to do but wash my hair, I'd be happy to spend an evening with it, but I won't be waiting by the phone either. In the early days, the potential was there (despite the awful clothes) and there's something magnetic about the chemistry, but I've discovered it's a bit more shallow than I originally thought.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from HarperTeen. Asunder will be available January 2.

 

Meghan Miller is a librarian-turned-indexer, and a blogger for Forever Young AdultAlthough she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like. She lives in Georgia with her husband, young son, and old dog.