Grade: 2 stars out of 5
At the age of 13, Liv experienced two changes: her first period and her first shift. After finding out her mother shot and killed a wolf, sudden rage filled Liv where she fled to the woods to seek comfort against her desire to kill her mother. Liv’s life drastically changes from then on.Francesca Lia Block is one of those authors that I felt guilty never reading her novels. Her books won awards, recognition, and praise, but I am weary of hype now. Having received an ARC of The Frenzy for review my excuses for not a Lia Block novel ran out and it is really is a small book that I should have no trouble reading in-between classes and assignments.
The Frenzy as a whole was a large melting pot of disappointment. Lia Block has various mini-themes throughout the novel: homophobia, racism, abuse, suicide, low self-esteem, sex, etc. Issues that when dealt with correctly can expand the novel into something more yet The Frenzy was an underwhelming and underdevelopment piece of work that lacked clear direction.
One of the things that I first noticed about The Frenzy was its tendency to jump around. Trying to picture a clear timeline of certain events was like trying to swat a fly. Many paragraphs began with “Before I ____, I ____” with one of the biggest event was losing her virginity to Corey. When we’re introduced to Corey they had already “made love”, but as we are further taken into their relationship they had not yet have sex. Everything was spoken in past tense, but some scenes were spoken in the present or would it be the future?
Another issue I have was the “curse”. It is spoilery so please don’t read this paragraph if you hate spoilers. So Liv’s mother shoots a werewolf, the wife of said werewolf places a curse on her. Liv is born as a werewolf. Yet we later find out that the mother had an affair or at least a one-nighter with another guy in town, who turns out to be a werewolf. So my question is: is Liv a werewolf because of the curse or because of her true father or a combination of both? It seems as if Lia Block indecisive as to what she’s writing and just spewing this at the reader to make things more “interesting”, “dynamic”, or “tension-filled”.
Pace, the gay male in a small town who is best friends with Liv. I love his character. But by the end of the novel I fill like he’s a coat-rack that is a main prop for Liv’s excuses and I don’t understand the purpose of his character. Liv confines in him and he faces one of the many issues today, but the way he develops and ends that makes me wonder.
The ending makes me want to cover my eyes. Liv is running away from her problems and not dealing with anything and the novel ends on such a bad note. Spoilery so again, don’t read if you feel uncomfortable about it: so two teenagers, well every much adults very soon, run to New York on a motorcycle. Where do they plan to go? They’re families do not whole-heartily “approve” of their relationship and only one of them actually had original plans to go to NYC for college. NYC is far different outcry than say the woods in the town.
The Frenzy has too many components for this underdeveloped plotline that if had been taken further would have been great.
Cover: B-/C+ (It's striking and fits Liv's appearance, but lacks anything spectacular)
Source: ARC from HarperTeen
Source: ARC from HarperTeen
Published: October 1, 2010