Review: Teardrop by Lauren Kate

Book cover of Teardrop by Lauren Kate

Teardrop was so obviously not for me that I considered just not reviewing it and, if I was merely apathetic about it, I probably would have let it go at that. Unfortunately I have such strong feelings about this book that I just have to review it properly. Well, I say ‘properly,’ but I probably actually mean ‘angrily.’

This isn’t going to go well.

Plot summary: Never, ever cry… Eureka Boudreaux’s mother drilled that rule into her daughter years ago. But now her mother is gone, and everywhere Eureka goes he is there: Ander, the tall, pale blond boy who seems to know things he shouldn’t, who tells Eureka she is in grave danger, who comes closer to making her cry than anyone has before.

But Ander doesn’t know Eureka’s darkest secret: ever since her mother drowned in a freak accident, Eureka wishes she were dead, too. She has little left that she cares about, just her oldest friend, Brooks, and a strange inheritance – a locket, a letter, a mysterious stone, and an ancient book no one understands. The book contains a haunting tale about a girl who got her heart broken and cried an entire continent into the sea. Eureka is about to discover that the ancient tale is more than a story, that Ander might be telling the truth… and that her life has far darker undercurrents than she ever imagined.

Genuinely and completely non-sarcastically (but just wait), it sounded like an interesting premise. Mysterious boy and dead mother clichΓ©s aside, I picked it up for the unique premise of the underwater mythology mixed with a girl who couldn’t cry for fear of Bad Things happening. Great, awesome!

Except not. It’s so achingly, mind-numbingly domestic. The actual magic-y aspects don’t really form an integral part of the story until at least three quarters of the way through, and that’s a generous estimate. It’s hinted at, sure, but it’s mostly the old male friend and the new sultry boy beating their chests at each other, to Eureka’s natural delight disdain. I had zero interest. If I wanted to read about a teenage protagonist who had to choose between two equally terrible men, I could wander into Waterstones and pick up almost any book in the Teen section. It’s just so over-done now.

The prologue doesn’t help in that respect. I rant about prologues and epilogues so much that I’m not going to bang my head against that wall anymore today, but this prologue is kind of self-defeating. It tells you the end of the story! Because of this, I began the story already knowing who Ander is, why Eureka’s mother died and why people are chasing her. Oops, there goes the mystery!

Eureka herself has to be the worst fictional character I have ever come across. I know her Mum has just died and I’m very sorry about that. But please, dear God, stop talking about it. She’s unbelievably melodramatic – more so than Sloane in This Is Not A Test, and she tried to sacrifice herself to a zombie horde. She can’t be in the school group photo because OMG MY MOM DIED and ‘You know I don’t like boys since MY MOM DIED. God, you are SO INSENSITIVE.’ Also, it is not a ‘death sentence’ to sit at a lunch table with people. I hated this. Hated. I was so angry at it that I actually had to keep putting it down before it ruined my mood for the day.

Eureka felt tricked. A yearbook picture hadn’t been part of her deal with Coach. She saw the photographer, a man in his fifties with a short black ponytail, setting up a massive flash apparatus. She imagined huddling into one of the lines alongside these other kids, the bright light going off in her face. She imagined the photo being printed into three hundred yearbooks, imagined future generations flipping the pages. Before the accident, Eureka never thought twice about posing for the camera; her face contorted into smiles, smirks, and air kisses all over friends’ Facebook and Instagram pages. But now?
The permanence this single photo would imply made Eureka feel like an imposter. She imagined the lie of her high school resume – Latin Club, cross-country team, a list of honors classes. Survivor’s guilt, the one extracurricular activity Eureka was interested in, was nowhere to be found. She stiffened so it wouldn’t be obvious she was shaking.

It’s bearable for two paragraphs, right? Well, almost. Now imagine 400 pages of that.

The other characters are fairly generic – boy-crazy but dependable best-friend, horrible step-mother (who actually seems like a fairly reasonable person), clueless father…. etc. Except we have to stop every time somebody new is introduced so we can be told what they look like and where they live in excruciating detail. It’s not quite as bad as ‘the main character looked in the mirror and saw XYZ looking back at her,’ but it’s close.

The writing itself is lazy. There are lots of instances where Eureka ‘can’t explain how she knew’ and doing odd things ‘by instinct,’ presumably because the writing is too lazy to explain a character’s action with a logical reason. And obviously Eureka can randomly understand some obscure iconography because she went with her mother to a xylography class at some point. That’s lucky. And lazy.

My feelings about Teardrop are probably pretty clear by this point. I think I’m so annoyed because it could have been great – there’s a unique premise that I’ve never seen even touched upon before, but unfortunately that wasn’t where the focal point of the book seemed to be. Too much melodrama about silly things and too much shoddy writing. I don’t think I’ll be trying Lauren Kate again.

Read another review of Teardrop at Effortlessly Reading. 

Comments

  1. Laura says:

    Oh Hanna, I do love your rants! If I'm honest, even the *premise* sounds kind of sucky to me, so there's that, but also euuuuuuurgh to the whole thing! *avoids like the plague*

    1. admin says:

      Well, yeah, I wouldn't have CHOSEN the premise. But I meant that, as far as these things go, it sounded like it had a slight variation on the usual teen fantasy theme thing.

      It doesn't.

  2. Ellie says:

    Ohhhh Hanna. I really wish I'd seen you in Leeds two days BEFORE I saw this book in Tesco, not two days after. I wouldn't have touched it with a barge pole. But the cover was pretty, and I have liked two out of the four Fallen books, so I took a gamble. I should have just bought The Goldfinch instead! πŸ™

    "If I wanted to read about a teenage protagonist who had to choose between two equally terrible men, I could wander into Waterstones and pick up almost any book in the Teen section." AMEN. I'm reading the Hunger Games trilogy at the moment and it was so refreshing that Gale and Peeta are both NICE BOYS. They're not fallen angels or weird stalkers or abusive assholes and NOBODY TURNS INTO A WOLF. They're just nice, independent, pleasant young men you could actually imagine bringing home to your mum. It's a nice change from other teen novels I've read since!

    1. admin says:

      Yes. Yes, you should. I really, really want to buy that by the way. If I get the job that I'm interviewing for tomorrow, I think I'll buy it as a self-congratulatory treat πŸ™‚

      Yeah, I know what you mean. I preferred Peeta to Gale, but neither would have been a bad choice. They don't treat Katniss like crap or stare moodily off into the distance to be mysterious. Ugh. Sometimes I worry about what teenage girls have been brainwashed into thinking is acceptable behaviour in a boyfriend.

    2. meg says:

      Teardrop rules. Read it and think for yourself.

      How do I know Hanna's review is bullshit? She calls Eureka the WORST protagonist she's ever read. Whenever anyone says something like that you know they're either A) lying, or B) unaware of how much they love what they're saying they hate.

      Or she's just trying to support her moron friend Effortlessly Reading, who wrote a dumb review of Teardrop.

    3. Laura says:

      THANKS FOR YOUR OPINION. I'M SO HAPPY WE HAVE THE ONE PERSON IN THE WORLD HERE WHOSE OPINION COUNTS! WE ARE SO LUCKY!

    4. admin says:

      I read it and thought for myself, but apparently that's not good enough.

      Just dropping in here to say that the lady who writes Effortlessly Reading isn't my friend. The first time I saw her blog was when I Googled 'Teardrop reviews' and it popped up on the first page of results. I linked to her review because it was well-written, not because of the opinions she expressed.

      All thoughts here are my own and are not in conjunction with any other blogger, especially those that have only come to my attention within the past week.

      I do dislike Eureka as a protagonist; why would I lie? I'm also very aware of my own feelings regarding the book and don't need your odd psycho-analysis of how I'm 'unaware' of my true feelings.

      I'm glad that you enjoyed Teardrop. However, I didn't and the mature thing to do would be to accept that you disagree with my opinions and refrain from calling my review 'bullshit.'

    5. Ellie says:

      Wooooooow. Sometimes fangirls need to take a step BACK and realise that someone having a different opinion about a book is NOT a personal attack (unlike, say, leaving an aggressive comment calling their review 'bullshit'). Otherwise me and Hanna would probably have been at each other's throats years ago, and I'd have thrown Laura down an escalator in Leeds for dissing Robinson Crusoe. πŸ˜›

      Meg, since you replied to my comment, however rudely – I quite liked Natalie Hargrove and Fallen, LOVED Torment, but thought Passion was painfully cliched and Fallen in Love was just awful. I bought Teardrop because it was Β£5 and the cover's pretty. I'll give it a read and see what I think. What I WON'T do is come back here and bitch-slap a fellow blogger if I happen to like it more than she did – not only because I actually have some manners, but because while 'Effortlessly Reading' girl might not be Hanna's friend, I AM. Sorry to disappoint!

      SPEAKING OF WHICH – Hanna, I hope you got the job chuck! And not just because then you get to buy more Donna Tartt goodness, obviously. πŸ˜€

    6. Ellie Warren says:

      Other Ellie, we have been doing this all wrong, we must start a war! OMG you liked Streetcat Bob, what were you thinking, you idiot!*

      *Please note affectionate sarcasm, the idea of you fighting in Waterstones made me snort.

    7. Ellie says:

      OMG IF YOU HATED THAT BOOK YOU MUST HATE ALL CATS AND ALSO HOMELESS PEOPLE.

      And that, my friends, is how crazy fangirling brains work. *smushes Other Ellie* *simultaneously tries to sneak a copy of The World According to Bob into her bag* Okay, I never said you couldn't be a BIT crazy with the fangirling – as long as you do it nicely. πŸ™‚

    8. Ellie Warren says:

      READING STREETCAT BOB CAUSES SHOPLIFTING!

  3. Etudesque says:

    Props to finishing this book, because lol @ "lazy writing"! I don't think I've read 'lazy writing' before, but thanks for reading so I won't have to πŸ˜‰

  4. meg says:

    Your moronic review hyperlinks to Effortlessly Reading's moronic review?

    Enough said.

    Hate on, haters!!!

    1. Laura says:

      Wait, are you… Is that Lauren Kate? Nope, just a crazy person? Ok then.

    2. Ellie says:

      Says the girl who's left TWO hating comments on one review.

      Lauren Kate's too nice to review-bash.

  5. Bex says:

    Ok I haven't read the review yet cos I'm on my phone but just wanted to say to Laura and Hanna that I love you both and feel much safer to state my opinion with you two around!!

  6. Hanna, what have we told you about having opinions when you are unable to work out what you do or do not like? In future, we will ask YA fans the world over to tell you what you think and then you can just post that…deal?

    On a serious note, though, I'm sad that you had to read this but happy that it validates my Lauren Kate avoidance strategy. I can live with a lot of tropes but if they're going to be there, they should at least be well written. Those lazy writing examples are the kind of thing that Fallen was riddled with. If the author can't be bothered to think through back story or reasons why her characters are doing what they're doing, it's pretty unreasonable to expect me to suffer through reading the bit that they could be bothered to put on paper.

    PS. Incidentally, do you know what I don't understand about happy camper meg's comment? Why she's addressing the people reading your blog instead of you for most of it. Never mind the unbelievable rudeness, it's kind of odd.

    1. Ellie says:

      At least she didn't leave twelve page-long comments full of statistics like that crazy lady who didn't like my review of that Jon Krakauer expose of Greg Mortenson. I just deleted all her crap in the end, she was relentless!

      If Teardrop sucks, that will officially be my last Lauren Kate novel. I've hated the last two (out of five total), and rereading The Hunger Games has reminded me that there are MUCH better YA novels out there. Lauren Kate's covers are stunning, but there's only so many times they can persuade me to part with my cash if I keep being disappointed!

  7. meg says:

    As always: Hate on, haters.

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