Series: The Stellow Project #1
Published by Skyscape on June 23rd, 2015
Genres: young adult, science fiction
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When a killer storm unexpectedly hits Manhattan, seventeen-year-old Lilah Stellow’s dad insists that she and her younger sister, Flori, take refuge at their cabin in the mountains. But instead of joining them with the experimental drug that keeps Lilah alive, he disappears just as news reports name him as a prime suspect in an act of ecoterrorism.
As days pass without her medicine, Lilah finds herself teetering on the edge, caring for her sister, and growing increasingly certain they’re being watched. In her search for answers, Lilah is thrown into the center of a mystery involving an off-the-grid research facility and finds herself drawn in by Daniel, an intriguing boy who is the son of the lead scientist. As she dares to seek answers, Lilah slowly realizes that even the best intentions can go horribly wrong.
The Stellow Project took me forever to read. It’s not a bad book, it just didn’t hold my interest. It’s very odd to me because I used to be such a less picky reader than I am now. I’m hard to impress these days. I have a short attention span. I will put a book down and go do something else if it’s not working for me. It’s not that this novel wasn’t working for me though. I liked large parts of it: the writing, the characters…
So what went wrong? Two things. There wasn’t enough world-building. But more on that in a minute. I want to talk about the plot first. There wasn’t much of one. I felt like too little story was dragged out over too many pages. There were large parts of the novel where nothing of importance happened. In a way I appreciate those chapters because it helped me grow attached to the characters, but at the same time, shouldn’t it have been integrated better? The pacing was just up and down and mostly down, and I just expected this book to be much more exciting.
As I mentioned, the characters were well-developed and I definitely thing that is books’ biggest strength. I felt for Lilah and Flori, their abandonment by their parents, the fact that they had to strike out on their own while being pursued by strangers–possibly dangerous strangers. The relationship Lilah has with Daniel was one that grew into something more, and the love interest ARC was done well. I could have gone without the sharing of “I love you’s,” however. I just didn’t think it was necessary and it happened after only a month of knowing each other. It felt a bit cheeseball.
The world-building was entertaining and interesting. But…I was missing quite a bit of it. I didn’t get any of the answers I wanted, and I cannot STAND when a book leads me on and gives me no satisfaction at the end. I don’t know who the bag guys are, who the good guys are, and what shades of gray there are. I still don’t know what Lilah’s parents were/are attempting to do. I don’t know who Grenier is. I don’t know where the girls ended up and why there are tornadoes. What is the government involvement in all of this? IS the government still the one we have now? I’m pretty sure this story was written in the near future, so what is life like outside of the weather? I need to know more than just what the weather is like. I was just completely annoyed by the way the book ended. And to top it off, there is no information on Goodreads as to whether this is a standalone or series. I am assuming it’s the latter, but book information is generally filled in by now.
So I’m left feeling kind of neutral about this whole reading experience. I enjoyed the way the book was written-it flowed well and I liked the author’s use of imagery. The characters were lovely and I sympathized with them. I enjoyed not knowing whether Lilah’s parents were good or bad. I didn’t like not getting an answer about that in the end. I don’t like finishing a book where almost nothing is resolved by the last page. I wanted more world-building, but I did like what I got. It wasn’t enough. I am definitely in for the next book. I just HAVE to know what is going on. But I kind of resent being forced into it the way I feel that I am. I know I can choose to not read it, but I feel emotionally manipulated, sort of?
I’ve settled on a 3.5 rating for now. You’d think based on this review that my rating would be lower. I don’t know what I am doing anymore.