Saturday, December 1, 2012

[Book Review] A Hundred and One Reasons

Title: A Hundred and One Reasons
Author: Bianca Salindong
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Drama
Source: Purchased Paperback
Rating: 3/5

National Bookstore

There are still many things Ann needed to know, to explore and live the life she'd always imagined. But everything turned upside down when she learned that she is sick. Not cough and colds sick. No, something much complicated than that.

Ann decides that she'd rather fight when she knows she had no chances of winning. And then came a promise of a hundred and one reasons, from someone she never thought cared for her, and gave her the strength she needed to live. This is a story that goes beyond the boundaries of faith, family, hope and love... it may bring you to tears or give you the reasons to live than just to exist.

A cliché that was meant to touch hearts, but missed the bull’s eye by at least a good few centimeters.

Last night, as I was cruising along National Book Store to pick up a few school supplies, I found myself wandering towards the locally published books section. I wanted to try reading a locally published book to review it.

I browsed and contemplated over a few titles. I decided I have to buy just one book - a book that wasn’t too expensive as I was on a tight budget. I found A Hundred and One Reasons by Bianca Salindong. It was only a hundred bucks, fairly cheaper than the other books in the section. Plus, I read in the back cover that Bianca Salindong is only a twenty-something nursing graduate from Tarlac, which meant that she was about my age. That silly little fact got my attention, and so, I picked up the book.

Now, unto the review proper…

Like I said at the beginning, the story was cliché and it was meant to touch hearts, but it missed the bull’s eye by at least a good few centimeters.

When I started reading, I was easily reminded by those stories posted online; stories written by amateur writers and were posted within the forums of Candy Mag, on FictionPress or on Wattpad. Since it was stated in the book that it was Bianca Salindong’s first novel, well, I decided it was fine.

The writing was definitely raw, unpolished and sadly, it was lacking in so many aspects.

The protagonist came out strong at the beginning. From her own point of view, she was a strong and mean female, who plowed through anyone that dared to cross her. As the story progressed however, she wasn’t really that much of bad-ass. She was a smart-ass, with a mean mouth, but ultimately, she was a good girl.

What was good about this story was that the promise of a great premise was there. The idea of making a hundred and one reasons to live was a gem. But while the general idea was promising, it was not entirely something new.

Also, the technical aspect of the novel was very much lacking. The chapters were very short. There were several grammatical errors, misplaced words, typographical errors and tense-shifting within the sentences.

It was cringe-worthy to read the whole story when I itched to correct broken sentences every few minutes. Nonetheless, I pressed on because I wanted to get my money’s worth, and because I was determined to write a proper review for the story.

As for the story itself, well, the thing is, I love a good and effective love-triangle; especially if the love triangle makes me torn between two great, multi-faceted characters. Sadly, in this story, the love triangle was placed just because it was convenient. It wasn’t in the least bit effective.

The heroine easily gets attracted to guys who come to her one after another. First, there was Lee, to whom Ann harbored a secret love for a long time. Then, there was also Stan who was also her crush for the longest time. Then, there was also Lorenzo, who had a heart condition, and who conveniently appeared when Stan was out of the picture. Their attraction didn’t even get any build up at all. Insta-love was all over the place.

Then, what I don’t get is that James, Stan and Ann were supposed to be friends from when they were still kids as evidenced by the recollection of them playing hide and seek when Ann was only seven. But then, according to Stan, he and James never really got along at first because they were opposites. The narration gave me the idea that they met when they were already in their teens, completely in contrast to the later flashback scene narrating the hide and seek.

Another thing that was novel in this book was the use of quotes from series, songs and blogs. It was obvious from the quotes at the beginning of each chapter that the writer was very much active online. Although sometimes, I find the use of these quotes unnecessary.

By the end of the story, where I’m supposed to be touched and in tears, I wasn’t. What I wanted to do though, was to pick up my red pen and proof-read the whole book. It badly needed editing.

I give this book 3 stars out of 5 simply because everyone needs a hundred and one reasons to live even if they think they don’t need it.

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