Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Book Review: Overpowered by Mark H Kruger

  The world's safest town might actually be a deadly kind of dangerous. And Nica Ashley is about to learn the hard way.

Nica Ashley is accustomed to traveling the globe with her journalist mother, so when she gets sent to live in a small town with the father she barely knows, she's in for a bit of a culture shock. Barrington prides itself on being a sleepy, family community with the lowest crime rates in the state of Colorado. There's even a private security force run by Barrington Technology (BarTech) and a nightly curfew for all residents.

On Nica's first day at school, she meets Jackson Winters and finds out he went from school superstar to living ghost after his girlfriend disappeared a few months ago. When Nica follows him out after curfew one night, they both witness a mysterious green flash-and the next morning the power has gone out and all the birds are dead.

But secrets are well and alive, and as Nica and some of her friends discover they now have abilities best described as "super," they also realize that Barrington might not be so safe. And that BarTech is looking for them.

Overpowered had a great premise and it could have been awesome but somewhere in the execution this went wrong for me. Like I said I really liked the idea. It had a great plot and there were some really interesting parts. Unfortunately there was just a bucket load of things I had issues with which took away from the awesomeness of the actual plot.

Firstly the writing seemed really cold to me. There were loads of descriptions of physical things like clothes and food but there was no real description of the more emotional things. I didn’t need to know exactly what brand of water or computer Nica was drinking or using. I wanted to know more of her inner workings, how she was feeling and what she was going through but felt that aspect was completely over looked.

Then there were a few inconsistences. Every night wi-fi, mobile phones and home phones go offline yet somehow Nica still manages to text her friends. Also after the pulses everyone gets angry, starts fight and generally loses the plot apart from Nica, Oliver and Jackson. I thought it was because they were ‘different’ but Maya is different to and she also loses the plot. I also struggled at times to know what time of day it was. There were moments where I was sure the action was taking place at night but a few pages later it was daytime which really confused me.

The characters were bland and didn’t really have any personality. Nica was ok but personality wise she was all over the place. On her first day at school she throws a boy to the ground after he bumps into her, she also goes on about how she studies martial arts but apart from that one time she does nothing else to backup that side of her. She has no ‘normal’ girl interests and instead goes on about her martial arts, living in Thailand and has an obsession with sushi. Jackson is no better, as the love interest I expect him to have some personality so we can understand why Nica is so taken with him but there was nothing. No time was spent getting to know him and he spent most of the book not answering his phone and disappearing for long periods of time.

The romance really annoyed me as well. Nica really fancies Jackson and has not really dated before. He kisses her and she starts pulling her and his clothes off in the middle of the woods where some crazy people were after them. I got the impression that she was a virgin and she just came across as well too eager and unconcerned. Sex in YA is fine and I fully support it as it is something that teens do and think about but it has to mean something, the implied (almost) sexual content in this meant nothing.

What I hated most about the romance was the way Nica reacted to Jackson. She went from being a girl who could and would throw a boy over her shoulder to saying stuff like:

“Was he upset with me for being so hopelessly lame.”


“I was so stupid no wonder he had no interest in me.”


“As if it were even possible that a hunk like Jackson would ever want an insecure mess like me.”

It drove me mad, I just hated that she put herself down all the time. It was even worse because the reason Jackson was so unsure about getting romantic was because his girlfriend who he was really in love (but couldn’t be that much in love with as he nearly had sex in the woods with another girl) with was missing. I cannot understand how Nica never really thought of that.

Overpowered was a great idea on paper but at the end of the day it wasn’t for me.

2 stars

Published August 27th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.  A free copy was provided for review.  Image courtesy of Goodreads

Review by Kate phillips 

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