Monday, April 2, 2018

Review: Damselfly by Chandra Prasad

DamselflyTitle: Damselfly
Author:  Chandra Prasad
Publisher:  Scholastic Press 
Publishing Date:  March 27th, 2018
Pages: 240
Genre: YA Psychological Thriller
Series:  Stand Alone
Source: Audio
In the wake of crash-landing on a deserted tropical island, a group of private-school teens must rely on their wits and one another to survive.

Having just survived a plane crash, Samantha Mishra finds herself isolated and injured in the thick of the jungle. She has no idea where she is or where anybody else is -- she doesn't even know if anybody else is alive. Once Sam connects with her best friend, Mel, and they locate the others, they set up camp and hope for rescue. But as the days pass, the survivors, all teammates on the Drake Rosemont fencing team, realize that they're on their own -- with the exception of a mysterious presence who taunts and threatens them. When their initial attempts to escape the island fail, the teens find they need to survive more than the jungle . . . they need to survive each other.

This taut novel, with a setting evocative of Lord of the Flies, is by turns cinematic and intimate, and always thought-provoking.

This book was brought to my attention by the lovely Ash. She had it on one of her Delightful Discoveries or Waiting on Wednesday. I can't remember which. I thought hmmm. Lord of the flies vibe... Lost vibe.... I will for sure read this book. I pre-ordered on Audible and decided to dive into as soon as it was released. I really have mixed feelings about this book. I loved some aspects of the book while I didn't so much on others. In the end I think I enjoyed it enough to say I liked it but it wasn't my favorite or as good as I wanted and hoped it would be. 
A plane crashed, a plane full of teenagers. Only some survived. No adults. The teens must learn to survive, adapt, and really not kill themselves or each other, by accident or on purpose. They are not the only ones on the island though. There is another, and this other does not want them on the island (like the have a choice) and this other keeps giving them evil messages in a violent manner to get them to leave. 

There were some things I really loved about this read. I loved the idea of survival. What they had to do so they would not die. I loved the setting, the animal life, the while lost on a island vibe. It was a great book for that.

The characters all had their knowledge on either survival, animal life, leadership, and other stuff that made the crash landing and the survival a bit easier.... as easy is it could get. This was fun. I felt that I was learning what to do and not to do if I ever had to survive on a deserted island. 

I also enjoyed the different personalities and the blending of the group. They were diverse and each their own. I appreciated this.... even if there were some cliche personalities. I did like how some got a long and some didn't. They ended up fighting about stupid things and important things and I felt this was as real as this could get. 

I loved the mystery on who the other person on the island was. I felt creeped out about it and I couldn't figure it out.At some point I even wondered if one of the teens were setting the others up. 

So that is what I enjoyed. Everything I enjoyed also had a negative side. 

The characters were annoying. Especially the main character. She wasn't annoying all the time and she had some great ideas. The problem I had with her is that she was not her own person, she didn't know how to speak up and she was always relying on her best friend to do all the thinking and the speaking. I felt she was a doormat. In this kind of situation... get a backbone, your survival depends on it. 

Even though I enjoyed the idea of the crashing on a deserted island. It felt a little unrealistic at times. I don't normally need all realism but at times it was just a bit over the top. The story was interesting and I feel it could have been executed a little bit better. The pacing was a bit up and down for me too. At times it felt too slow with nothing happening then other times it felt rushed. 

The mystery. This was one of the best things about the book, something that kept me going... when it came for the big reveal and it all came to a climax, I felt a bit let down. I needed just a little more from an entire story built around the mysterious other on the island. 

Yes, there were things I think could have been better, however I did enjoy the book for what it was. I did keep listening and wasn't bored. I do wish there were have been a bit more to the story and better executed but I didn't dislike it. I think I just had high hopes for this book and it didn't pull all they way through for me. 

Enjoyed it for a fast, interesting read. 

Chandra Prasad

My first young adult novel, Damselfly has arrived! Thank you to my wonderful publisher, Scholastic. If you'd like to read a modern, multiracial riff on Lord of the Flies, this is the book for you.

Previously I wrote novels for adults, including On Borrowed Wings, a historical drama set in early 20th century New Haven; Breathe the Sky, a fictionalized account of Amelia Earhart’s last days; and Death of a Circus, which Booklist calls “Richly textured [and] packed with glamour and grit.” I am the originator and editor of Mixed, an anthology of short stories on the multiracial experience, which was published to international acclaim by W.W. Norton and which is used in many college English classes.
My shorter works have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Week, the official magazine of The U.S. Department of State, Teen Voices, and numerous literary, arts, and poetry journals.
I'm a graduate of Yale and a Fellow at one of Yale's residential colleges. I'm currently working on more YA novels.

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