Friday, September 24, 2010


Back in grade school, Maxie and Rick were best friends. Rick would design crazy inventions, and Maxie, the artistic one, would draw them. Then something terrible happened to Rick, and he vanished from her school and her life. Years later, he shows up at Maxie's high school. In some ways he's the same person she once knew. But in other ways - frightening ones - he's very, very different . . .

Warning: This rant will contain spoilers.

I picked this really short novel up at the library because I was dumped there for 5 hours after school yesterday. Reading this book passed the time, but I can't say I liked it or felt more elevated after reading. In fact, there wasn't much good in this book.

It started out seeming promising, though rather cliché: a guy comes back to high school, meeting his best friend from grade school again, with whom he'd lost touch since a mysterious incident in middle school. It sounded promising; this, coupled with the fact that many minor characters were gay, drew me into the story at first.

Sadly, as I read on, I got more and more frustrated.

First of all, I was irked by the random describing at the most dramatic times. I know the main character is an artist, but I swear, when you're having a huge argument with your best friend, you will definitely not stop to look at a robin fly through the air, and how his feathers clash with the bright blue sky. I was really annoyed, because this occured so many times. It seems to me that the author's editor asked her to write more descriptions or something, and that she added them at random.

Also, there seemed to be no character development at all, and even less descriptions of the characters. They were anonymous to me, completely unreal and unbelievable. The main character, Maxie, was as flat as a piece of paper. I don't know what she likes, who she is, what she looks like, apart from the fact she loves to draw cartoons. That is the only thing mentioned about her personality! Other utterly flat character: Tay. Even though we were told she was a complete hockey fan, she just abandons her favourite sport early on because she dislikes the coach. Completely unrealistic. I personally have been playing baseball since I was 5, and have continued even when I had notorious jerks as coaches. I never stopped because of that, because I love the sport. When you love something, you don't just abandon it at the first difficulty you run into. There was also Rick, short for Roderick, constantly bullied in school, who was apparently completely psycho? If I wasn't told he was, I would've guessed he was a sad little angel.

Bottom line : the way the characters act in the book and the way we are told they are are radically different.

I could probably rant on about the characters for hours, but I'll keep it at that.

I was also very surprised by all the developpments that took place. But I don't mean surprised in a good way. In fact, the developments made no sense. Since the main object of the book (at least, until page 150) seemed to be the relationship between Rick and Maxie, it was an unpleasant surprise when it turned out Rick actually wanted to blow up the school, got kicked out by his dad, turned out to NOT be gay, and was taken in by Maxie's gay uncles, all within about 40 pages. Honestly, I was lost. This development didn't make any sense at all to me.

Which bring on the next reason why I was disappointed : everything was so poorly explained! I didn't understand how Rick turned out to be the psycho. I don't understand how Tay and Maxie would ever be friends in the first place, I don't understand why Maxie pushed her best friend away in sixth grade, and what was the big secret, and in what grade are the characters, and who, what, where, when, why? Whaaaaaaaaat is going on!?

I found it excessively odd, though, that although Rick is called a faggot at every possible occasion, and picked on, and singled out, and attacked, Sean, Maxie's gay cousin raised by her gay uncles, was relatively unscathed. Come on. If a straight kid is being picked on for looking gay, how can a real gay kid, raised by two gay men, be pretty much left alone? Logically, this would not happen.

There was one little thing I really did like: the relationship between Rick and Maxie when they were still little kids, and the whole mousetrap company they invented. I thought it was an adorable concept, and it made the ending even more dramatic when you saw the relation between the childish games and all the traps Rick set up to ensure the school would blow up. But then he took everything down because... Actually, I don't know why.

All these things led to me greatly disliking this book, and it left me kind of mad. I did not like it. But it did entertain me for a few hours, just the time I needed to get my brain off school. It could have been good, if it was better explained. The concept wasn't really innovative, but there were a few elements that could've been exploited to make this much better, and many, many things that could've easily been corrected in order to keep my attention longer.

Overall, not so good a read. You can find something better to read, I'm sure you can.

Mousetraps by Pat Schmatz
Rating: 5,3/10

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