Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Review: Following by Jeffry W. Johnston

FollowingTitle: Following
Author:  Jeffry W. Johnston
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire 
Publishing Date:  February 5th, 2019
Pages: 256
Genre: YA Mystery Thriller
Series:  Stand Alone
Source:  Audio

Alden thinks he witnessed a murder, but when the dead girl turns up alive, he must figure out the truth in this chilling novel

Alden likes to follow people. He's not trying to be a creep, he just wants to be an investigator some day, and it's good practice.

But spying on people comes with seeing popular Greg Matthews seemingly murder his girlfriend, Amy, behind the school.

But the facts aren't adding up, especially because Amy turns up a few days later...alive. Now Alden has to figure what he could have seen… and what secrets Greg is hiding.

I bought this book a while back on a whim while at the bookstore. Since then it has sat on my shelf. I wasn’t in a hurry to read it and I think I mainly bought it because the cover was so creepy. This week, the book came out on audio and I figured okay now I should just listen to it. It’s a short book and I can get through it in no time at all. One of the things that didn’t put me in a hurry to read this book was the reviews I came across on Goodreads. I was afraid I wouldn’t like the book. I did enjoy the read enough to finish it, but it was it everything I want in a mystery thriller. Nope. Was it without it’s issues. Nope. It wasn’t a perfect or unforgettable or amazing read. But it was enjoyable.

The main character, Alden, has had a tragedy in the past year, it has left him with some issues. One of those issues… guilt. He thought he could have prevented the tragedy from happening. Now he has an obsession with following people. Not in a creepy way… well a little creepy but really he wants to investigate, he wants to make sure all is good and everyone is safe. On one of these followings, he saw a classmate kill a girl. At least this is what he thought he saw. He and his best friend try to do some investigating, which turns in to a mess, which leads to danger.

I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t what I wanted or thought it would be. In fact it did have its issues and I can see why some of the reviews on Goodreads were what they were. The issues to me were small and did lead to a lack of total love for the book, but not dislike. I wanted to continue reading, I wanted to know what happened, I was invested. Thought the book lacked oomph and depth, it was a fast read that I did find some entertainment in.

This book could have been so much more, however it is a YA book and sometimes those just don’t fill me up as much as I like. This book lacked depth and maturity, for me this wasn’t the best. For some it would not be the book to read, but for others, in the intended age group, I think it would be much liked. I do feel that the age group for this book would be better off in the upper middle grade age maybe 13-15. It felt a little immature for a ya book. It was somewhere in the middle. The writing was very immature for sure. It wasn’t bad writing but it wasn’t at a level I enjoy for sure. The characters could have been developed a bit more, the mystery was a bit too easy, and there wasn’t any pop in the book.

I did like the main the character, Alden. For what I could tell he was a good kid that had a tragic event in his past that changed his life drastically. I could get on board with his strange obsession of following people, I saw him as more of a Nancy Drew type and not a Ted Bundy type.  I really had a hard time connecting to the his relationships. There were only a couple, one he has with his best friend that didn't feel developed and one with this uncle who raised him, which was very little in the story. I couldn’t feel the love.

The entire cast of characters were just strange to me. They weren’t flat per say but they lacked layers. They were pretty much what you saw was what you got… except for one. And I figured her out as soon as she entered into the picture. I think the characters had a good start… they were just unfinished. Unfinished is how I felt for pretty much the entire read.

There was nothing really bad about the book, it was just unfinished. It was easy to read but it was also easy to figure out. Too easy. There was a bit of everything in the book…. But not enough of any particular thing. It felt like a great start but was missing just a little bit of something.

Having said that. The book was good for just a light easy book to finish, a very quick read. Something to put in between some really heavy books but had just a bit of the suspense and thrill feel. So it wasn’t bad. Just wasn’t anything to write home about. I didn’t struggle to finish the book but I could have put it down at any moment if I had too. I feel like I am just writing negative… the negative is easy to write as I know what was wrong with it… but even with the negative I enjoyed it enough to rate it as a like. If I did half ratings. It would be a 2.5 but I don’t and it’s closer to a 3 for me than a 2.

Just a little more than a meh read for me. I think some might really enjoy it.

Jeffry W. Johnston and Charlie

Jeffry W. Johnston has published about thirty-five short stories and more than two hundred articles. His first young adult novel, FRAGMENTS, was an Edgar Award nominee for Best Young Adult Mystery. Both FRAGMENTS and THE TRUTH were awarded the coveted Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). He is also a member of the KidLit Authors Club.

Jeff lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife Janet, son Will, and their dog Charlie.

1 comment:

  1. I have this one for review but haven't read it yet. I feel like I've heard a lot of mixed things. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian


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