Quinlan Lacey's life is a red carpet of weird fashions, hip bands, random parties, and chilling by the pool with her on-and-off BFF Libby. There's also her boring job (minimum wage), a crushed-out coworker (way too interested), her summer plans (nada), and her parents (totally clueless). Then one night she meets gorgeous James, and Quinn's whole world turns crazy, Technicolor, 3-D, fireworks, whatever. But with good comes bad and unfortunately, Quinn's new romance brings with it some majorly evil baggage. Now, to make things right, she has to do a lot of things wrong (breaking and entering, kidnapping, lying, you name it). There's normal, and then there's paranormal, and neither are Quinlan's cup of Diet Coke. Staying sane, cool, in love, and alive isn't so easy breezy.
Have you ever read a book that made you so, so angry, not because it is bad or offencive but because it could have been amazing? That is how Drain You made me feel.
M. Beth Bloom is clearly an incredibly talented writer. Her style is poetic and beautifully descriptive. Her world building is strong and she is clearly very creative. The problem is that Drain You has a plot that I feel I’ve read a million times and a character that I just couldn’t like, not even a little bit.
Let’s start with the plot. It is nothing we haven’t seen before. Bored teen falls in love with dark and dangerous vampire. She completely ignores/abuses/uses her male best friend who for some inexplicable reason is head over heels for her. Vamp boyfriend leaves and she falls into an extremely dramatic depression, etc, etc. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? What Drain You does do differently from the other books like it is focus on a different type of character. There are no self-conscious plain girls here. This is Gossip Girl meets Twilight; everyone is beautiful, spoiled and completely self-absorbed. Their time is taken up with parties, alcohol and sex. The writing also does its best to remind us that these kids are ‘cool’ there is a lot of descriptions of (barely there) clothes and a large use of the words ‘like’ and ‘cool’. All of this didn’t help me like the characters at all especially Quinn.
Quinn has to be one of my least favourite characters of all time. She is unbelievably selfish and the worse thing is that she knows it. She goes on about how selfish she is but doesn’t once try and change herself. She uses people for what she needs without even caring about the consequences. She was at her worse when James was around she doesn’t care that he is a murderer she falls in love with him straight away and that is all that matters. In reality I am not even sure she is in love with him, she sleeps with him, gets depressed when he goes away (for only a week or two) but it doesn’t stop her from throwing herself at her best friend and developing a possessive attraction to James’ brother Whit. It is implied that something will happen between them in the future, so much for love! I think the truth is that she expects everyone to love her whilst she remains free to love who she wants when it suits her. I quite honestly hated her.
Yet, despite the plot and the terrible characters there are moments of brilliance in this book. The dark side of the vampires are great and the moments when the villains are around are creepy and spine-tingling good. Bloom is not afraid to take her writing to dark places and that combined with her writing style creates sparks of magic. Unfortunately there is just not enough of these moments, instead the pages are crammed with teen angst and relationship issues.
I don’t think I have ever come across a book with such unused potential before. The good parts of this book are outstanding but it is all weighted down by unlikeable characters and an all too familiar plot.
I think Beth Bloom is an author to watch, I may not be a fan of this book but I look forward to reading something different from her, hopefully with characters I can get behind.
Published July 24th 2012 by HarperTeen. A free copy was provided for review. Image courtesy of Goodreads
Review by Kate Phillips