Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Map For Wrecked Girls

A Map for Wrecked Girls

A Map For Wrecked Girls was an interesting read and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand it's a dual narrative tale telling the story of Henri and Em, two sisters who are on the outs, set both before and after they are marooned on a tiny island somewhere off Puerto Rico. Their companion is Alex, a guy with his own secrets which are slowly revealed over the course of the book. It's also a look at sisters and the dynamic between them, and what happens when a traumatic event drives them apart. 

The central theme here is forgiveness- can certain things be unforgivable? Henri and Em are at odds because of something Em did. Em isn't sure if Henri will ever forgive her, and the story alternates between what happened in the months leading up to their time in Puerto Rico, and the present day being stranded with no food or water. The experiences on the island are pretty harrowing, including having to deal with starvation, exposure and even wildlife. Perhaps even more harrowing however are the flashbacks to what happened before.  

Henri is a wild child, loves to party, and always has a guy. Em is much more reserved but is totally defined by Henri, as she is well aware- Henri seems to be her whole world, everything she does is eclipsed or validated by her older sister. I'm not sure their relationship is a healthy one, and cracks start to appear when their dad leaves their mom. There's also the boy across the street- Jesse- who Em has been pining for, but unfortunately he only has eyes for Henri. 

There's another elephant in the room and between that and Jesse their relationship is shattered. Accompanying their mother to Puerto Rico, they take up with some guys and end up stranded. When Em and Alex begin to have feelings for each other, it makes it that much more difficult for Em and her sister to reconcile. 

My mixed feelings come from the characters. I didn't care much for Henri. She seems vain and hurtful, but beneath it all she has real pain and by the end of the book I felt for her. Alex is a character I was never sure about, to be honest- at times I thought he was playing games, and at other times thought he was genuine. His secret is potentially bigger, and one of the problems I had was when the big reveal happens I thought it a bit anti- climactic. Also, the flashback chapters start several months ago, but by the time the reveal happens it's only a short time before their trip, and the long- simmering resentments that I thought were months in the making seemed diminished.  

I think some readers may prefer the survival story, and others the sister drama. Some might like both. I thought the ending was wrapped up a little too cozily. This would be a great book for a book discussion, as several decisions made by the three of them are just begging to be debated! 

58 comments:

  1. Greg, this is the third time I'm leaving a comment so my apologies if your inbox gets flooded! Basically, this sounds like it might have been better focused on the sisters and their relationship and not included Alex.

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    1. Sorry about that! Glad it showed up/ :) I think the relationship with Alex was useful because it helped Em get over Henri or see some things about her, but your point is well taken. Alex's storywas a bit... maybe unrealistic, not sure the word, but yeah I wasn't entirely sold.

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  2. I enjoy reading stories where there is forgiveness at the end, but the characters have to connect with me so it makes sense. Sounds like this one falls a little short. Great review! Hugs...

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    1. It was a nice character study, in a lot of ways, and examination of sisterhood vis a vis forgiveness, definitely.

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  3. I love the cover and think this has the potential to be good. However, love triangles drive me nuts and I can't help but think this is the ultimate setting for one - three people stranded on an island. Great review but I think I'll skip this one.

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    1. The cover is awesome! Had to read it for that alone. :) It wasn't really a love triangle on the island- more it was a love triangle back home, as both girls had a thing for Jesse. But yeah I'm not a fan of them either.

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  4. Great review. Luckily this is not in my TBR pile...

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    1. Ha ha it's a good book but it didn't blow me away.

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  5. Sounds like this would be a miss for me. I really enjoyed reading your review about it though!!

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    1. Thank you! They can't all be winners. :)

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  6. Sorry this wasn't amazing. There is always the next book right?

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    1. Exactly. Although to be fair, this wasn't a bad book and someone else might love it. It was a solid 3 for me.

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  7. Great review! Hate that this wasn't amazing for you. I can't decide if I want to pick this up. I might wait a while based on your review.

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    1. I think if the themes appeal to you it might be worth a shot. Sisters, secrets, can they forgive... plus stranded on an island lol. It's not bad, just didn't blow me away.

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  8. Wrapped up too easily...hmmmm, I wonder

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    1. Might just be me, not a huge deal but I thought it could have been messier.

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  9. You always write just thought out reviews. Thanks so much for your honest on this one!

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  10. I've seen this one around, but didn't know much about it. It's an interesting premise, and I can see how this would make a good one for discussion.

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    1. Definitely a good one for discussion. I'd love to sit around and discuss what Em did, what is warranted, what Henri does, their screwed up family lol.

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  11. I was a little bit curious about this one. Too bad about the character though. Thanks for the honest thoughts on this one.

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    1. Sure, like I said it's a mixed bag. Not a bad book but didn't wow me.

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  12. EXCELLENT review, Greg!! LOVED your take on this book!! :)

    This does sound like a very intense, psychological drama! Sibling rivalry can be a TERRIBLE thing, as I know from a couple of troubling sister relationships I've seen in my life.

    I'm definitely interested in reading this one! Thanks for sharing your well-written thoughts!! <3 :)

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    1. P.S. I could have sworn I was following your blog, but it turns out I wasn't. Well, I have made sure to do so! <3 :)

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    2. I hope you like it if you try it! I think my review gave the impression I didn't like it, but more accurately I had mixed feelings. It's not a bad book, just didn't amaze me. If it appeals to you, I say go for it!

      Oh and it's about time you followed! Ha ha jk

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  13. I just read a review for this on another blog. They also liked the book but has mixed feelings about the characters. I'm still on the fence. Might give it a go.

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    1. If you like the stranded angle along with sister secrets, you might like it. It's definitely YA. Not a bad book, just didn't amaze me.

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  14. Hm. I'm intrigued by it, if only just for the sister aspect (and the stranded on an island aspect). I can see how this might be a good book for discussion though, so I might pick it up in the future. I feel like I might be on a similar boat with you, there's not much else to be said if you don't care for the characters... Thanks for another good review, Greg!

    Cass @ Words on Paper

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    1. The sister aspect and the stranded thing were both elements that interested me as well. And you know they weren't done bad, it just didn't blow me away.

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  15. I haven't actually heard very much about this book, so it was interesting to read your review! It sounds quite different to a lot of books out there, which definitely intrigues me.

    I like complicated relationships, and it sounds like A Map for Wrecked Girls has quite a big focus on that, which is something I might like. It sounds quite weird for that to be coupled with a stranding story, but I guess it would force the problems the sisters were having to be confronted.

    It's a shame you felt like some of the things were a bit anti-climactic. I like big, dramatic reveals, haha.

    Great review!

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    1. It was a little different! And the relationship between Em and Henri was complicated- and yes the island just reinforced that, because they had to survive- it definitely made them confront their choices! I would give it a shot, you might like it!

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  16. This actually reminds me a LOT of another book I read, 100 Hours, where these cousins have conflicts all over the place, one is a real asshole, and they end up trapped in a Colombian jungle. And have to survive, as you do. But also, there were some kind of murderous drug lords so maybe not the same. Anyway. I like the idea of the survival stuff, but I don't know about the sister drama, that seems kind of annoying. Especially if the reveal was anti-climactic. Saddd, but I mean, at least you got to look at the nice cover while you read it? I do plan on reading it one of these days, but I will probably be in less of a rush hah. Great review!

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    1. I think I remember that one! And your review of it. I was intrigued by the whole time thing... the sister stuff was okay but by the end I was like- what is the big secret? Oh THAT'S what you did? Yeah maybe not cool, but... maybe essential? Don't want to spoil.

      And it's worth it for the cover alone!!!

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  17. Kind of a bummer that this one is such a mixed bag. The premise with the sisters is right up my alley, although I'm pretty sure Henri would annoy the heck out of me. Great review!

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    1. Henri was your party girl but of course there's more going on. I would say if it interests you to go ahead and read it, because you may like it more than I did? It's not a bad book, just was okay for me.

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  18. I've been seeing a lot of mixed reviews for this one...I feel that either people love it or feel somewhere in the middle of loving/hating it. The story in this one appeals to me - I like the idea of survival on the island; however, that's too bad to hear it's rather anticlimactic. Great review, Greg!

    Lauren @ Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf

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    1. I'm probably in the middle. I like survival stories too, and I think in a lot of ways the author captured the dangerousness of the island, and their situation, very well. It just didn't blow me away.

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  19. I struggle with secrets in a book. Sometimes they are kept too long, and then the impact is lost because I'm moved past curious into frustration by the time it's revealed.

    I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one more. Great review!

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    1. I think the secret may have been kept too long in this, and it's funny because the flashbacks start months ago, so I thought okay this has been brewing for months, but the flashbacks get closer and closer until the actual "act" that caused their rift was like just a few weeks ago. that threw me.

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  20. oh I love sisters' drama love love love them. Though wit's hard to know if I'd like that more than the survival part of it. You know I'm an apocalyptic beast :) it seems we could have done without Alex? :)

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    1. Sister drama- you're good. Read this one! :) It's not very apocalyptic BUT they have a hard time surviving, so maybe... you'd like this? Alex was okay, I thought his secret was a little out there but... whatever.

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  21. I've heard mixed things about this one, so I'm still deciding on it, but I do like to read about complicated sister relationships!

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    1. Yeah I have mixed feelings, for sure. Not bad, just not great? And it does have complicated sister relationships!

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  22. It's the sister drama that drew me to want to read this book, and I think I'd probably enjoy that.
    All in all, I'm glad you enjoyed the book, even if it didn't blow you away. It does seem like a mixed package.

    Great review :)

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

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    1. I would definitely give it a shot then, you might really like it!

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  23. Sorry to hear that this one didn't end up blowing you away. I was really curious about this one, but I'm not sure it's my type of book. Great honest review! I hope you enjoy your next read much more!

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    1. Thank you. I wanted to like this one. And it's not bad, just not great.

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  24. Oh boy am I getting some Lost vibes from this. I might just have to pick it up for that reason. Oh, and the cover of course :P

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    1. Yes, the island right? I loved that part- I mean shipwrecks?!? You might like it. And the cover is awesome!!

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  25. I don't think I'd care for Henri and I'd be hoping Em got a sweet guy instead of someone pining for Henri. The survival aspect is actually what attracts me more than any of the other bits. I can see how you'd have mixed feelings when it seems a lot of characters are not very likable. Wonderful review, Greg! :)

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    1. I did not like Henri until much later when I knew more what was going on. Although I still thought she did some dumb things. I liked the survival aspect, I thought it was realistic for the most part (although the passage of time at one point seemed iffy) but I think that's what drew me to it as well. And thanks!

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  26. I have seen a lot of meh and eh reviews for this book, so I think I am going to skip it. :)

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  27. This sounds interesting but like a book which I think is interesting and then promptly forget to read. It's probably not kind of my read even with the sister drama to suck me in. It does sound like it was done well (even if the ending wraps it up a little too nicely). I think it's the whole stranded thing which puts me off. I'm like 'really?' because it's such an unbelievable storyline. That's just me, though.

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  28. This sounds pretty good! I think I would probably prefer the survival aspect more than the drama but as someone with 4 sisters, I can understand the drama. Thankfully my sisters are my best friends now but we were always at each others throats as kids. lol
    Great review, Greg! :)

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  29. I've seen mixed reviews on this and I'm debating about reading this. The author will be in my area next weekend so I'm not sure if I want to take the time and spend money to buy a hard copy of this. This is on my TBR but I'll have to think about actually reading this. Great review and I would have issues with a character like Henri.

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  30. I'm really excited for this one because sister dynamics and survival stories are two of my favourite things - I'm a little bit worried about finding the characters unlikable!

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  31. I'm not sure on this one. I love the cover and I like stories about family bonds but the relationship here sounds almost toxic. The survival story portion does sound interesting and you've got me curious about Alex. This may be one I wait to see if it comes out on audio.

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