Monday, April 29, 2013

Crush. Candy. Corpse.
Author: Sylvia McNicoll
Release date: February 17th 2012
Publisher: James Lorimer & Company
Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository  
Add to your library: Goodreads

Paradise Manor is depressing - the smells are bad and the residents are old. Sunny would much rather be doing her volunteer hours at Salon Teo, but her teacher won't let her. Who says volunteering at a hair salon doesn't benefit the community?

But working with the Alzheimer's patients has a surprising effect on Sunny. Along with Cole, the grandson of one of the residents, she begins to see that the residents don't have much more choice about their lives than she does: what they eat, how they are treated by staff, even what they watch on television. So Sunny does what she can to make the residents happy - even if she has to sometimes break the rules to do it.

But when tragedy strikes at Paradise, Sunny's left to make the decision about whether or not to honor a promise that Cole made to his grandmother about her life and her death. (via Goodreads)

It took me awhile before I got the hang of the story. Maybe because I was waiting in the hospital that day or maybe because the start didn't have that much of an impact to me. It actually started out unique. I think too unique for me that I didn't get it all too well. 

It started out in the courtroom. See? Unique right? But the organization of the scenes confused me. A lot. There are parts in the book wherein an entry of Sunny's journal is inserted. So it's like, courtroom, journal, courtroom, journal, etc. The entries in the journal were directed to Mr. Brooks. He was the teacher who actually forced Sunny to volunteer at Paradise Manor. The thing is, that journal itself made a lot of confusing thoughts for me. I don't know if it was my comprehension level or the book was just confusing. Either way, it was so confusing that I don't even know what's in the journal and not anymore. Placing a journal in a book sounds so good. Though I think it could have been executed in a better way. Without confusions.

There's Sunny. She had this volunteer work at Paradise Manor for her school requirement. Obviously, she was forced to do it. She met Cole and his grandmother in the Manor. She met a lot of oldies. A lot of staff hated her. Why? She doesn't follow rules. I hate her for that. Those rules weren't even for her. It was for the old people. So why can't she just follow them right? And I know she doesn't even want to volunteer. It was just for her school requirement. I read on thinking that she'll love the old people since she was close to her grandma before. She did, of course. But that, my friends, was the part where she lost me. I didn't feel as if she really felt concern for the old people. Sure, she was kind to them, did good things for them. But was that enough? I just didn't find that sincerity in her voice. And to think that this was written in the 1st person POV makes me sick. I felt like I was reading from a 3rd person POV. That's how much I didn't connect to her. There's also her boyfriend issue. Goodness, how can she lead on Cole when she has a boyfriend? If you're thinking that I hate her, I don't. Really. But her choices do suck. It's just so frustrating, okay. And here's the thing, I can forgive for her stupidity if she has a life that is sucking her up. But she doesn't. Maybe she has issues. But those weren't much of a big deal in the story. The story was so much focused on the case, in the courtroom. So I guess that's why I wasn't able to connect to her and understand her.

The thing that led Sunny to that courtroom concerns Cole and his grandma. You'll figure it out immediately when you read this. I just don't want to say it here. What happened was so freaking shallow. I'm sorry. But I think there are worse problems that can happen than that. It was pure accident. And I don't even know why there was a case against Sunny. Seriously? It was so unbelievable. I know Sylvia did some research but I didn't find it so convincing. 

Another thing is, there are a lot of issues that were introduced in this book that I find it so dragging already. Sure, the case is the main concern. But there are little problems that seemed so unimportant. They weren't discussed or even explained a little more. And there's the ending. It was so so so not what I expected. I know what's gonna happen to the case. But the last part of the ending itself made me think about what the moral of this story is. 

I read this because I have a soft spot for people with Alzheimer's. But because there are more issues I have with this book, I didn't get to enjoy the read anymore. I can't even think that the focus was Alzheimer's disease. I felt like the story took a lot of turns but didn't make it back. 

Despite all my rant, I'm giving this two stars. It was okay. Neither liked nor disliked. Still, I just thought the story could have been executed in a better way. The premise was so good anyway.

Of course, I'm not discouraging you to read this. Maybe this isn't just for me. But I do hope you'll give this a chance!

(Many thanks to James Lorimer & Company for allowing me to read this through NetGalley.)

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