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The Paper Gardens

I've been reading since I was 3, and I haven't seen any reason to stop. I'll read pretty much anything I can get my hands on, though I will admit to a crippling addiction to fantasy and YA books.

Currently reading

Ozma Of Oz
L. Frank Baum
Progress: 45 %
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
L. Frank Baum
The Divide
Elizabeth Kay
A Clash of Kings
George R.R. Martin

Death by Cake: Lost Secret Series (Volume 1)

Death by Cake: Lost Secret Series (Volume 1) - Melanie Ray I've put off this review forever. I really, really have not looked forward to this.

If you do not want spoilers, do not read this review. If you wish to retain any shred of hope for humanity, do not read this review. You have been warned.

I read this book back in December, but I still have nightmares about it. In all of the books I've read since then, I have yet to find a book that got under my skin as much as this one did. And I've read some pretty terrible books.

When I first picked up this book, the synopsis caught my eye. It sounded like it was funny, and action-packed. Do not believe the synopsis' lies. This book is not funny. This book is not romantic. It's supposed to be a satire, but of what, I have no idea.

This book was painful every single step of the way, and left me just feeling...uncomfortable.

For starters, the main character is a girl named Shari Kari, who had a twin sister named Kari Shari. Her two main "love interests" are Timothy Varmen ("Varmint") and Zeke ("the Hippie"), who constantly insult each other with their respective nicknames.

The premise of the book is that Shari Kari's surviving sister sends her to a safe house of sorts, where rich parents drop off their kids and usually leave them there indefinitely. This leads to all sorts of hellacious awkwardness fun-filled scenarios, as the children (who are now full-grown adults) know absolutely nothing about how normal adults function, and just play with young children all day long. It's the third or fourth time Zeke hastily separates a couple of "adults" when the men-children are walking around with visible boners that really endears you to the premise.

Shari Kari has a condition (Je Ne Sais Quoi - which granted, was a cute name) where if she eats too much sugar or processed foods, she'll die. (I'm pretty sure JNSQ's some strain of super-beetus.) In order to prevent this, she takes a pill that will also eventually kill her. Zeke makes it his mission to get her off her meds and make her exercise, eat healthy, and play with more children to combat this crippling disease, and nearly kills her in the process.

Oh, and in case you thought the whole premise of someone dying from eating sweets was cute, or funny, that's because you haven't read about how Kari Shari's mouth and esophagus were melted like someone poured battery acid down her throat when she ate a piece of cake. Or how their mother was imprisoned for life because everyone jumped to the conclusion that she murdered her daughter by feeding her battery acid. Or how Shari Kari can't set foot in her home town anymore because she was thought to be her mother's accomplice in the murder of her twin sister.


Did I mention the reason she has to live in this safe house is because her crazy, rich ex-boyfriend is pissed that she broke up with him, and has paid many, many guys thousands of dollars to seduce her and rape her for him? Pah. That is such TYPICAL ex behavior! (Also, rape is ALWAYS funny!)

The writing is just strange, and terms get thrown at you left and right, but you're given no idea of what exactly the author is talking about. There's no context, or anything that gives you any sort of clue about what's going on. Zeke's a Paladin...okay...


Most of this book is just Shari Kari screaming at Zeke because she doesn't want to exercise, or Zeke and Timothy trying to out-do each other with petty-name calling. (Timothy wins this contest by training a three-year-old, like a parrot, to say "hippie" or "flower power" whenever Zeke is around, and being proud of the fact like it's some sort of accomplishment. He loses points though, because Zeke is oblivious to the taunts.)

The plot doesn't become interesting at all until the last few chapters of the book, when you finally get context on all of those terms that were thrown at you earlier. And I'll admit, the whole superhero/villain thing would have made for an interesting story. If more of the book had focused on that aspect of the story, it might have been...better. Not great, but better.

I almost gave up on this book. I hate not finishing a book I start, but I was putting serious consideration into clawing my own eyeballs out rather than read another scene of grown-ass men and women talking and acting like they were still five. It was not cute. It was not funny. It was mind-numbingly obnoxious.