Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tent City by Kelly Van Hull

Tent City By Kelly Van Hull 3.5 STARS

Tent CitySynopsisAfter a devastating plague, introverted 17-year-old Dani Campbell and her family find themselves living in a very different America, one run by a cult-like leader, who forces children to move to "safety camps" designed to protect the human race. Encouraged to flee by her parents, Dani and her five-year-old brother seek refuge in the Black Hills of South Dakota. On the run with danger around every corner, Dani must fight to ensure their survival in this new world while trying to unmask the mystery of how it all came to be

Overall- Im a left a bit baffled by this very intriguing novel. There were a lot of things I liked about this book, but there a few things that really got under my skin, and I struggled severely with the ending...regardless...I liked the story and the characters a lot. And even though I was missing a few connections, I felt attached to Dani, like I had grown with her. I enjoyed seeing her grow over time and become the woman she is. I really enjoyed the authors writing as well, she kept things simple, but continued to add layers over the course of the book, building the plot, the mystery and the characters to pull it altogether for the ending. It was in some instances inspiring and I love that the story got me thinking and creating. This is a great story for anyone looking for a clean, young dystopian novel.

tentsCover- alluring 
Rating: PG
Characters: Bentley, Jack, Dani, Kit, Brody   
Page Turner: Sometimes
Series Cont.? Not sure 
Recommend if You Like...Ashes, Ashes; Eden (AKA The Bane) 
Book Boyfriend: Jack and Bentley 
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian 
Sex Scenes: Nope
Setting- Midwest (South Dakota) 

Plot- This plot is quite interesting and even though pieces of it have been heard before, overall its still captivating and intriguing and I found myself enjoying the book more and more as I got further invested. There are some lulls in the book, where I found myself wondering where the book was going to go, but it was short lived as it felt like every chapter kept the book and characters moving forward and on ward in their journey. The book was more about surviving and coming of age in a world that is divided and not so simple any more. I found the love story interesting, though a triangle is frustrating at times and I would have preferred a bit more on how Dani felt, rather than consistently feeling unsure.

tent cityish
The plot though generally predictable, kept me interested, and knowing there may be a sequel, keeps me quite intrigued in this story! I liked the added issue of having a child to care for, it really forced Dani to grow up. As for the different events the occurred, I really enjoyed these, they were unexpected and different, not your typical scenes. The action, the learning, the self discovery was all very interesting and kept me intrigued. Im disappointed that the book was left with a semi cliffhanger, and if there is a sequel, I am DYING to read it. I MUST know WHO she picks and what happens. But If Im left with the ending now...Ill survive, but Im VERY upset. 

Shelley Hennig as Dani

Dani: I actually REALLY liked Dani, (and the boys) and these relationships are what kept me most interested, figuring out where they would be going, the feelings, the lies and the secrets, they were most intriguing. I loved watching her grow over the course of the book.  I think what the author did best, was that she was able to create and grow the heroine without forcing it upon the reader. The changes appeared gradually and by the end of the book I am amazed at how strong, even though foolish at times she has become, and more so she is passionate and fearless for her family. I only wish I could have felt more of her feelings towards the love triangle, I felt like while we got to know the boys, her feelings were never there and present for the audience to get to know.  

Chase Crawford as Jack
Jack- Wow. At first I was a little wary of this one. I wasnt sure we would trust him. But mid way through the book, Im in love. I want to kiss him, I want a Jack in my life. This guy is quite the knight in shining armor. Whats great about Jack is that his mystery is not so scary, he feels somewhat safe to me, and even though he is hiding something, he doesnt seem sinister about it, instead he seems kind, and caring, but keeps his past behind him and chooses not to discuss it. His caring nature is what I like most though, he is so selfless! Ah...I cant believe what he does in the end though! How could he!!!

Hayden Christensen as Bentley
 I cant decide how I feel about Bentley, but right now I love him. I think he has a tough exterior but a soft spot for Dani. I dislike that he is distant, and untrusting, but understand that its part of the life he lives, he cant divulge everything to someone he just met! Its obvious as the reader that he likes Dani and I find myself rooting for him, even when he is a little mean. But I think he has her best interest at heart and truly cares about her and her family. Even I fell for him. Whats great about Bentley is that even though we dislike him, we love him, the author does a great job of showing the reader that he isnt the bad guy, hes just doing the best he can to protect himself and the people he's trying to help. Deep down he is a great guy.

Brody Tent City
Brody- Such a sweet little kid! OMG He is such a doll. I cant imagine doing what Dani did at her age, and I think this is one of the reasons that I like the novels, he brings a new different layer of complications and complexity. He was a great insert into the dystopian world and this story would be incomplete without him! I like that he really helped Dani grow into her own, in some ways to grow up and mature but also to become responsible to see that the world can be cruel, AND beautiful.

What I didnt Say Sam?
Sara Paxton as Kit 
Kit-- I like Kit, but I find her to be quite superficial and not that helpful. She may be "free spirited, but quite frankly, I wanted to leave her behind a few times on the trip. Her inability to recognize the situations they were in, constantly over sharing, and disregarding their safety was by far the most annoying part about her, and then when we got to camp it seemed like all she did to interact with Dani was baby sit or make her over...I understand their friendship is deeper than that, but I felt that Kits heart was more invested in gossip and boys than survival.

Callie/Jess- I liked these supporting characters, their roles each served a purpose for Dani, helping her to grow up and to be a sounding board at times and that was appreciated. There are always people like this in our lives.

What I didnt Like:
I dont like that there is what I consider a cliffhanger, whats known to me as a story that ends and leaves the reader with some finality but open enough for a sequel, think Inception, or the Bourne Movies.
Every once in a while it felt like I missed something, like I skipped a paragraph that contained the information necessary to move from one point to another, but that was not the case.
Jack is supposed to look like a young tall Tom Cruise. Personally, this just bothers me because Im not a fan of his...
I felt it could have been more developed, especially the characters and their relationships with one another.
Pieces of this book were extremely predictable, and the fact that the main heroine didnt connect some of these dots herself, really annoyed me, especially when she acted like the victim because of it.

Throughout the novel Im a little annoyed with Dani the heroine for being so trusting and willing to go along with things so easily. Given the environment they were in it would seem like this was not the norm, they should have been a little more paranoid. And Kit seems quite trusting, and somewhat selfish...I could go on, their attitudes just got to me at times.
There were a couple of instances where the scene was so completely unrealistic (in a novel where realism was ever present) that I struggled with why it was even there...at one point someone is shot and then only a few hours later is out running through the woods...unnecessarily!

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