Release Date: July 7th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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Eva has always wanted to write a modern classic—one that actually appeals to her generation. The only problem is that she has realized she can't "write what she knows" because she hasn't yet begun to live. So before heading off to college, Eva is determined to get a life worth writing about.
Soon Eva's life encounters a few unexpected plot twists. She becomes a counselor at a nearby summer camp—a job she is completely unqualified for. She starts growing apart from her best friends before they've even left for school. And most surprising of all, she begins to fall for the last guy she would have ever imagined. But no matter the roadblocks, or writer's blocks, it is all up to Eva to figure out how she wants this chapter in her story to end.
What is the point of a book? Most books, when you finish reading them, leave some kind of mark on you. You know what it was about; you have a feeling about the theme(s). Whether you liked it or not, you usually take something away from a book. A lesson of some kind, even if you disagree with it. But with Don’t Ever Change I just didn’t get that. I closed the book and thought, what was the point?
Don’t Ever Change follows Eva, a somewhat unlikeable girl with a passion for writing. Eva managed to somehow be both bitchy and naive, and I have to say I didn’t really care for her a lot. There’s nothing wrong with so-called “unlikeable characters”, especially when the narrative makes clear we’re not supposed to like them. With Eva, I never got that. At times I felt like we were supposed to root for her (which I didn’t, really) and then other times like we were supposed to bear with her because she still needed to change. It was a bit confusing and it just didn’t really work for me, though it might for others.
Yes, Eva needed to change, to learn, but I’m not sure she ever did. Maybe slightly. I don’t really know what to say about it because it’s actually pretty good writing to have someone change only slightly and occasionally fall back into their own habits. It’s pretty realistic. But, aside from the fact that I just didn’t care all that much, maybe the change just wasn’t big enough for me to really see and appreciate it. Maybe I just didn’t get this book.
This was probably partly to do with the writing style. I think it tried to have this Marchetta-esque flair to it, with a hint of Rowell. To me, that means the writing in itself is actually slightly distant, but through simple statements and sentences somehow you get to know the characters intimately. The problem, for me, was that it just felt distant. I don’t know Eva like I do some of Marchetta’s characters. She’s a girl. She likes writing. She has a summer job at camp. Right now that’s pretty much all I can think of (though, to be fair, I *just* woke up. My brain isn’t really on yet). I don’t know her secret thoughts, her insecurities, her strengths. And I think all this contributed to that overall feeling of ” what’s the point?” that I got.
There were definitely some highlights, though! Eva gets a summer job at camp, and gets assigned to a group of little girls. It was pretty endearing to see friendships form between these girls and Eva, and how some characters go from disliking each other to saying “you’d be my best friend if it wasn’t for the age difference” (not a direct quote from the book!). The group dynamic was interesting and I really liked seeing what they gotup to now and what tasks Eva made up for them. I think the bits at camp were my favourite part of the book.
In all, I think I can sum up Don’t Ever Change as ‘not for me’. I think it’s one of those hit-or-miss books, and for me it just ended up being a miss. Though there were definitely good parts, they just weren’t enough to overcome my problems with this book.
Thank you, HarperTeen, for the review copy
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