Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Book Review: Wonders Never Cease

I have a bit of a shameful confession ... this book has been on my shelf for a year, waiting to be reviewed. You see, I get free books from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review. And last year, while we were living in Alaska, I got Wonders Never Cease and you know what? I read it. I read it right away. But I never took the time to sit down and review it.

Then I started working, and going to school full time, and then I got pregnant. And then we moved. And then I was doing more school. And then I had a baby. And then we moved again (by the way, we sort of kind of are living in North Dakota part time now ... don't worry, I'll write a blogpost about it soon! But knowing me, soon will probably be in the next 2 months or so).

So here we are. A year later. 2 reads of the book later. And I am finally ready to share with you all of my thoughts!

Wonders Never Cease, a novel by Tim Downs, is the story of an opportunistic trio out to make money off of a has-been movie star, a girl who can see angels and the hospital that ties them all together.

The movie star, Olivia Hayden, is in a medically induced coma after totaling her car. The nurse in charge of her care, Kemp McAvoy, is opportunistic and greedy, which leads him to the idea of bringing her out of her coma every night in order to give her a message from the "beyond". He approaches her agent and a book publisher with the idea, and they all plot together to produce a message they want to tell her. Then once she is awake her publisher can press her about her "dreams" and they'll make millions off the story she will write.

While those three are busy conjuring a pretend "angel", a little girl named Leah is seeing actual angels. Her mom is also a nurse, who happens to be dating Kemp. While Kemp is busy with his business plan, he keeps blowing off the needs of his live-in girlfriend Natalie and her six year old daughter Leah. Leah keeps getting in trouble in school because of the angels, which leads to stress on Natalie.

Downs is a good writer. His story is engaging and he does a great job with the dialogue. However, I cannot give it my full stamp of approval because he does too good of a job writing an annoying protagonist - Kemp McAvoy. While Leah is supposedly the narrator, her voice gets lost in the story of McAvoy's arrogance, greed and narcissism. I would have liked to hear more from Leah's perspective, instead of just an prologue and epilogue that tells us she is the one telling the story. Instead we are stuck with having to follow McAvoy around as he becomes more and more of an entitled jerk.  To be honest, he just flat out annoyed me and it slightly soured me on the book. But the story is engaging, the idea is humorous (and not too hard to believe!), and Downs has talent with words.

If I were to give a star rating, I would have to say 2.5. Definitely one that I was able to re-read, but not one that I couldn't put down or raved about.

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