Friday, 23 June 2017

ARC Review: GRIT by Gillian French.

Thank you, HC Intl, for the ARC.


It’s summer in rural Maine; when seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss isn’t raking berries with her sister, Mags, and cousin, Nell, during the day, she’s drinking and swimming with the boys in the quarry by night. She knows how to have a good time, just like anyone else, but when you’ve been designated the town slut, every move you make seems to further solidify your “trashy girl” reputation.

But the fun is what’s been keeping Darcy’s mind off the things she can’t forget: a disturbing secret she shares with Nell, the mysterious disappearance of her ex-best friend, and that hazy Fourth of July party that ended with Darcy drunk, on her back, wondering how she let it get this far.

Then someone in town anonymously nominates Darcy to be in the running for Bay Festival Princess—a cruel, almost laughable gesture that can only be the work of someone with a score to settle. Everything Darcy has been trying to keep down comes bubbling to the surface in ways she wasn’t prepared to handle…and isn’t sure if she can.


Grit is a novel I decided to go practically blind into, as I had the feeling it held some mystery and wanted to find out as the plot went on. That may be the reason why I felt it falling flat the whole time, basically. I will not lie, I was expecting much more of it. As I have already mentioned, I thought there was some mystery aspect in it, and there was, but after a couple of days I barely remember it, as it did not stick with me at all... so, what does that mean? Let me go into detail.

In this story we follow Darcy Prentiss, a girl whose image has been totally damaged. Her reputation has been completely crashed, and now everyone takes her as the town's slut.... even the guys who have been with her. When summertime comes, she works her hardest along her sister and cousin at the harvest, raking berries. However, her social life is still very much alive at night, going to some parties and meeting up with some guys. She has fun, because that is what teenagers should be having during the summer. However, this summer is different. After her ex-best-friend's disappearance, Darcy is hiding some secrets with the potential to destroy bonds and people. She is meant to stay low... until she is chosen as one of the contestants for a beauty contest.

Now, let's discuss the characters. I could not connect with any of them, truthfully. I did feel sorry for Darcy, yes, but never did I feel her pain nor any of the others'. I think the reason behind this disappointment is the fact that I did not understand some of them. Shea is one of those, his behavior confused me. At first, I thought he was going to be the romantic interest, and that could have driven to an interesting romance, but he ended up being the bully, after the events of the Fourth of July, of the girl he shared that day with: Darcy. 

About the actual romance in Grit, all I can say is I felt it way too forced and, again, confusing. I was not convinced with the author's decisions, and, in my opinion, she could have built a great love story had she taken her charaters differenty. As I have mentioned, I think Shae could have had so much more weight on the story, and not exactly as a harasser, but as the typical bad boy everyone likes in YA contemporaries, I think there could have been a great love triangle, even! But, let's focus on what happened and not what could have happened. 

So, Darcy is living a tough youth. We are left hanging a couple of times, kind of wondering what happened with her ex-best friend, kind of simply reading because it is a very easy book to read. Not only does her social life fail her at some point or the other in the story, but also her family. And here we have the really good part of the novel.

The family is very well represented and the author made it really interesting with some intense bonds and atypical family dynamics. I am a big fan of how the author created this family, with issues and all. 

I feel like I should say something about the local beauty pageant, but I honestly have no words. I take it, it plays an important part of the story where we can see Darcy at her most vulnerable, but still, it makes no sense to me, adding a beauty contest in a supposed thriller story. You see, the thing with this novel is, besides expecting more, I sometimes could not see the point to it.

To my disappointment, instead of a thriller, in Grit I found the daily life of a teen girl who gets unfairly slut-shamed which, do not get me wrong, is a very important topic to highlight in young adult literature, but I think the plot on the back of the book suggested a completely different story, and that left me hungry for more.