Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Faithful by Janet Fox

Sixteen-year-old Maggie Bennet's life is in tatters. Her mother has disappeared and is presumed dead. The next thing she knows, her father has dragged Maggie away from their elegant Newport home, off on some mad excursion to Yellowstone in Montana. Torn from the only life she's ever known, Maggie is furious and devastated by her father's betrayal. But when she arrives, she finds herself drawn to the frustratingly stubborn, handsome Tom Rowland, the son of a park geologist, and to the wild romantic beauty of Yellowstone itself. And as Tom and the promise of freedom capture her heart, Maggie is forced to choose between who she is and who she want to be. (from back cover)

I was really excited to read Faithful; I thought it sounded pretty interesting and I loved that it was set in Yellowstone National Park. Aside from the setting, the climax of the story, and the mystery surrounding Maggie's mother, Faithful was just okay.

I was disappointed in Faithful. Everything was set up for a great novel: history, nature, romance, mystery, family secrets. But nothing was executed as well as it could have been and Faithful fell short of my expectations. The first thing I didn't like was the frequency of Maggie's internal monologues. I found myself skimming passages where Maggie is just talking inside her head, saying the same things over and over again. She constantly complains about being in Yellowstone, about not being in Rhode Island for her society debut, and about the lack of answers she has to her mother's disappearance. Second, while the romance with Tom Rowland was a better part of the novel, he annoyed me sometimes. Occasionally, Maggie would say something rude and condescending, but not with malice because she was obviously raised to look down on people beneath her, and Tom would justly call her out on it. But instead of telling her why her prejudices were wrong, Tom would say things like "I thought you were alright, Maggie, until you say something like that." This happened five or six times and just annoyed me so much.

So for the things I liked: Yellowstone. I was so excited to read about this national park because I've been there so I knew exactly what Maggie was talking about when she was describing the amazing sights and sounds. I almost wish there was more of the park in the book, it was a little underutilized. Another thing I enjoyed was the mystery surrounding Maggie's mother. It was kind of dumb that all Maggie had to do was ask her uncle and he knew the whole story but this was pretty much the only reason I kept reading Faithful. And it's actually a pretty heavy secret.

Overall, I was disappointed in Faithful because there were things in the book that irked me, like too much narration about the same things and Tom's rudeness to Maggie at times. But the fact that the novel was set in Yellowstone and that there was mystery helped me get through Faithful.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.

2010/Speak/322 pages.

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