Author: Nathan Kotecki
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Age Group: Young Adult
Release date: October 2nd, 2012
Pages: 368 (ARC)
Rating: 2 out of 5
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Shy Celia Balaustine is new to Suburban High, but a mysterious group of sophomores called the Rosary has befriended her. Friends aside, Celia soon discovers something is not quite right at Suburban. Girls at the school begin having near-fatal accidents on the eve of their sixteenth birthdays. Who is causing the accidents, and why? As Celia’s own birthday approaches, she is inexorably drawn into an underground conflict between good and evil—the Kind and the Unkind—that bubbles beneath Suburban High.
As if being a teenager wasn't hard enough, the students at Suburban High have to worry about the strange things that have been happening on the eve of each girl's 16th birthday. Celia is fifteen-years-old, and although she's the new girl, she's quickly accepted into the school's most popular cliques, the Rosary. As her birthday slowly creeps up and the "accidents" become more threatening, she team up with a few unusual friends to put an end to the curse.
At first the story felt as though it was going in the right direction, but somewhere along the way, the excitement I had for this book disappeared completely. I found the characters very hard to believe, especially those in the Rosary. To put it simply, none of them were relatable. They would constantly spout off cultural references, which got frustrating after a certain point. The only semi-enjoyable one is Celia, even though she doesn't seem to have a backbone when it comes to her new friends. She lets them change her completely, from her appearance to her interests.
I tried to like the characters, with their impossible maturity and their penchant for indie music, old art and classic novels, but I couldn't. I couldn't picture any of them being as young as they were supposed to be, and while I'm sure there are teenagers similar to these characters, I can't say that I know anyone quite like them. Though the plot was interesting and could have made the story incredible if it had been done better, I found it to be very predictable, and that was the biggest disappointment. Another problem I had with this book was the slow pace, and the fact that I felt the need to skim a good chunk of the book in order to keep from putting it down and forgetting about it forever.
Overall, I can't say that I would recommend The Suburban Strange. It wasn't the worst story I've ever read, but I constantly found my eyes glazing over, which ultimately lowered my overall rating.