It all started with the book Love and Other Four Letter Words. After I read Carolyn Mackler's first novel, I was hooked. I wanted to read everything she'd written. Then I read The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round things and loved it, too. So once I finished that, I ran right out to the library and got this one, Tangled. I'm sorry to say it, but I was a little disappointed by it. True, it had many of the elements that I liked about Mackler's other books: humor mixed with real-life situations, realistic-sounding first person narration, characters that felt like friends. But something was just missing...and I think I know what it was.
The book tells the story of four different young people who are all living very different lives: Jena lives a normal and (she thinks) boring life in upstate New York, Dakota is the hot jock at his high school, Skye lives the fast-paced life of a New York actress, and Owen mostly lives on the internet. But then their lives start to get all tangled together, and they cross paths with each other, starting with a trip to a resort called Paradise, where all four of them go on vacation.
I think it's important to point out, though, that the trip to Paradise is only a small part of the book. It begins there, but then the story goes through the months that follow that trip. The story switches narration, and each character narrates a different month, starting with Jena, who narrates about May, the month when they actually take the trip. Before I read the book, I thought the entire thing took place in Paradise, and in some ways, I wish it had, because it made for an interesting setting. At the same time, though, I guess only so much can happen in a week's vacation, so maybe that's why the author chose to move the characters around.
Like I said before, there were a lot great things about the book. The characters all had really unique voices and were going through different, complicated problems. It also really showed how little we really know about the people around us and what's going on in their lives.
However, in other ways, the jumping narration weakened the story. Since we didn't spend much time with any of the characters, I didn't feel like any of their stories were really developed that deeply. They all felt a little rushed, except for maybe Jena. It just felt a little...empty. Also, at times, I didn't really find the character's actions or thoughts believable, especially the character Dakota, who just seemed like too much of a jock stereotype. And since there was no big, over-arching storyline, sometimes the book got a little boring, and I didn't feel pulled to keep reading.
Even though this book did have some interesting things to say about the way people affect each other, and the way we see ourselves and others, I have to say that I just didn't enjoy reading it that much. I don't think I would recommend it to a friend. You'd be better off reading one of her other books, which, from the ones I've read, are pretty awesome.